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September 2011 | Adam Leach
sector buyers must make specifications and requirements clear in tenders so small
businesses understand exactly what is required.
to SM about how to increase contract
opportunities for small firms, Hayley Addison, senior commercial policy manager
at the Department for Work and Pensions
“Rather than SMEs having to guess what we want, we have to make sure that all
our specifications and requirements are clear, so that anybody can look at them
and understand them.
it’s not clear it could be putting SMEs at a disadvantage because they might
not have the time or resources to clarify them or do some research,” she added.
we make it as clear as possible, then they can go, ‘Right, I know what they
want so I’m going to respond to that tender because I’ve got it clear in my
head that I can deliver this’.”
who is in charge of the DWP’s sustainable procurement team, believes one of the
biggest barriers facing SMEs today is competing against the reputations that
large providers have built up over years of working across government.
need to try and move away from that and look at what they’re actually going to
deliver rather than who they are,” she said. “Obviously procurement is carried
out in an open and transparent way, but SMEs might be put off bidding because
they think one of the big players will win it.”
DWP is already meeting with 50 of its major suppliers, who represent 80 per
cent of overall spend, to agree ways to increase SME participation further down
the supply chain. It is also conducting “product surgeries” to communicate
contract opportunities to SMEs.
☛ Hayley Addison will be
speaking at the SME Public ProcurementConference in London on 15 September about the work the DWP has been doing to increase SME