Emma Jones will help fulfil government pledge to spend £1 out of £3 with SMEs © Ben Gold
Emma Jones will help fulfil government pledge to spend £1 out of £3 with SMEs © Ben Gold

Crown creates role to help SMEs win government contracts

4 August 2016

The newly appointed Small Business Crown Representative will spotlight benefits and support SMEs in bidding for government contracts.

The role was one of the developments announced by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) in its July update. 

Entrepreneur and author Emma Jones will fill the post and help enforce the government’s pledge to spend £1 in every £3 with SMEs by 2020.

As Crown Rep, Jones will identify opportunities to drive up direct and indirect spend with small businesses and raise awareness of SMEs needs within the government.

“Over the next 12 months, I’ll be supporting small businesses in getting tender ready, connecting them with buyers from central government and tier one suppliers, and shining a spotlight on those who have successfully made sales,” said Jones. 

SME communications firm Critiqom generated over £500,000 worth of new business in just eight months, after becoming a government supplier for print and other communications services in 2014, according to the report.  

Passing stringent CSS criteria to become a government supplier had helped raise awareness of the firm and attract new public sector deals, said Critiqom sales director Ian Forster.

Cybersecurity SME firm Securestorm expanded its workforce by 50%, as well as increasing turnover and improving profit after winning a government contract.

As part of what it calls “government contracts for the digital age”, CCS is working with the Government Digital Service and lawyers to shorten and simplify the way contract documents are written and presented.

The change will “encourage a more diverse range of suppliers applying to supply to government”, according to the CCS.

CCS also published its latest roundup of “Mystery Shopper” reports. Suppliers are encouraged to contact the service about public sector procurement processes they believe are flawed or do not understand.

In one complaint against Duchy College in Cornwall a supplier said three contracts for training services had been awarded without competition, with other suppliers having no chance to compete for the business.

The college responded that, while the contracts in question were not awarded through competitive procurements, it would review its approach to sourcing.

In another case a supplier to Croydon Health Service NHS Trust complained it had received a letter from a Health and Safety certification scheme provider, Reset, stating that suppliers must sign up to the scheme in order to continue to supply the trust.

The CSS Mystery Shopper team told the trust that membership could be encouraged, but not imposed on existing suppliers. 

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