Government to probe purchasing delays

30 November 2010
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30 November 2010 | Lindsay Clark & Angeline Albert   

The UK government is to investigate the causes of delay in the procurement process in a bid to boost Britain’s growth.

The government is seeking a more competitive and transparent procurement system and will conduct a “lean study” to consider purchasing delays, the Departmentfor Business Innovation and Skills announced yesterday.

It said bureaucratic hurdles threaten healthy competition and economic growth. Its paper, The path to strong, sustainable and balancedgrowth, said: Public spending also shapes markets through government’s role as a procurer. The current system leaves businesses wasting too much time on form-filling and searching for contracts. It works against a competitive market by locking dynamic and innovative SMEs out of many government contracts.”

In the meantime it announced a number of measures to achieve a more transparent buying process. This includes a contracts finder system to help SMEs identify public sector procurement and subcontract opportunities online, which will be launched in March 2011. The government will publish all contracts online from January 2011.

The paper said it will also “support public sector bodies, where relevant and cost-effective, to promote skills training and apprenticeships in procurement”.

The paper added that Whitehall is mandating a simplified, core pre-qualification questionnaire for suppliers and a quarter of central government procurement is to be directed to SMEs.

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