14 June 2006 | Paul Snell
The Welsh Assembly is to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to bid for public-sector contracts.
The Department for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks (DEIN) at the Welsh Assembly will today launch Opening Doors - The Charter for SME Friendly Procurement. Andrew Davies, the minister responsible for DEIN, is expected to unveil the charter at a B2B Wales event in Cardiff.
The charter outlines commitments from the public sector to improve relationships with smaller companies. These include becoming more familiar with regional SMEs, not assuming large suppliers always offer better value for money and reducing the amount of administration required to tender.
The document also asks SMEs to agree to a set of promises. These include registering on the sell2wales procurement website, taking up e-procurement and treating their own suppliers fairly.
It is hoped these reciprocal pledges will make the procurement process easier for both parties.
"This will be a valuable tool for companies trying to negotiate the often tricky minefield of procurement procedures, providing clear guidance and support for SMEs," said Emma Watkins, head of policy at the CBI Wales, which has endorsed the charter.
The Welsh Local Government Association and the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales have also given their support to the initiative.
There are more than 100 public-sector bodies in Wales with a combined annual public procurement spend of £4 billion.