Reform of public PQQs could boost economy and jobs

20 April 2012

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22 April 2012 | Paul Snell

Reforms to the PQQ part of tender processes could create 6,000 jobs and generate an extra £1.35 billion in North East England.

A report compiled by the North East Chamber of Commerce and the law firm Dickinson Dees has put forward four recommendations to reduce barriers to access public sector contracts. It suggests; improving the PQQ debriefing process; introducing a checklist for authorities to ensure barriers to entry are minimised; making the evaluation of the PQQ process clearer; and increased engagement with suppliers in advance.

"With public spending in the North East 7 per cent higher than the UK average, the opportunities from selling to the public sector are potentially greater in this region,” said Ross Smith, director of policy at the NECC, in a statement. “If we make more opportunities open to North East firms here, it will also bolster their chances of winning similar work outside the region.”

The study, Unlocking the Barriers – Prequalification in North east Public Procurement which was based on input from both suppliers and buyers, said more consistent feedback from PQQs for vendors would improve future bids and develop competitive advantage. It suggested the development of a debrief template to enable this. The report also provided a sample checklist buyers could use to assess the prospect of regional businesses accessing contracts.

Buyers were also urged to be more specific about evaluation criteria, so vendors do not mistakenly bid for work they are unlikely to win. The report also encouraged suppliers to take up invitations to engage with buyers at events to understand procurement reform and plans.

Public procurement spend in the North East is estimated to be around £3.5 billion a year, and the study said increasing the amount spent with local suppliers by 1 per cent a year by 2016, would generate £1.35 billion and 6,000 new jobs.

* Meanwhile a separate study conducted by Wax Digital at the recent eWorld Purchasing & Supply conference found buyers believe public spending rules and regulations are too complex.

The survey of 92 buyers found 48 per cent saw public sector spending rules and as “too severe and complex, restricting best value”, while 35 per cent said they offered the right mix of value and flexibility and 17 per cent saw them as too relaxed.

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