Government seeks 'best councils to do business with'

29 January 2013

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29 January 2013 | Anna Reynolds

The government has launched a competition to find out which councils are the best for suppliers to do business with.

The Department for Communities and Local Government's (DCLG) “best councils to do business with” contest will assess local authorities against criteria including:

How do they recognise the value of small suppliers in procurement?

How can small businesses find out about the council’s procurement opportunities?

How do they measure and account for procurement with SMEs?

How do bidding and contracting processes support small companies?

In addition to providing evidence of this, authorities will also have to demonstrate what their future plans are to help SMEs win more contracts.

By sharing the experiences of the best councils, the competition aims to tackle some of the barriers facing SMEs in public procurement, including overly bureaucratic processes and a lack of engagement by local commissioners. Winners will be invited to a reception at No 10 Downing Street.

In a letter sent out to councils Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government and Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s adviser on enterprise, encouraged councils to share their approach to procurement so that small suppliers would have more confidence in bidding for local government business.

“We are also keen to support the winners in showcasing their good practice, not only to other local authorities, but also to wider public and private sector contracts across the country,” it said.

The letter described small businesses as the “heartbeat” of the British economy and said they can provide the kind of innovative solutions that deliver better value and efficiency for local authorities.

The winning entries will be selected by a panel from the Federation of Small Businesses, CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, Local Government Association, the Cabinet Office, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the DCLG.

Nominations are due by Friday 22 February and details on how to enter can be found here.

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