04 October 2007 | Antony Barton
Three-quarters of buyers do not think they have a responsibility to give more business to the third sector.
In the latest SM
poll of 100 buyers, many respondents insisted the aim of procurement is to obtain the best price and service, whatever the provider. Some said duty to the voluntary sector is limited to ensuring there are no barriers to entering a tender competition. One buyer claimed charities provide unfair competition to registered firms due to "lucrative tax breaks".
But others said the third sector can offer cheaper and more specific services. Simeon Bennett, head of procurement at The Learning Trust, said: "While the service providers may not be as commercially up to date as we are, they often provide niche services that the private sector won't or can't, and often at a low price."