11 May 2006
A government website to help small suppliers access information about public-sector contract opportunities is charging up to £750 a year for tender details.
The supply2.gov.uk portal
, a joint venture between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), offers free details about contracts in suppliers' local area below £100,000 - the level at which OJEU notification is required. But firms must pay £70 a year for details of work in their wider region. Charges go up to £750 to view all tenders.
An OGC spokesman said the charging model, which covers running costs, was agreed between the Small Business Service, part of the DTI, and BiP Solutions, which run the portal. The DTI said the model offered a balance between sustainability and value. Eighty-three per cent of more than 145 respondents to a poll on supplymanagement.com said they had never charged suppliers to tender for contracts.