Today sees the launch of major public sector procurement changes making it easier for SME’s to win annual public sector contracts worth £187 billion, resulting in one of the biggest changes to the processes used by the public sector when purchasing goods and services.
The Government is looking to encourage competition in the market place from the best British businesses. The initiative is about securing the best value for money for the taxpayer and buying from more SME’s can help to drive innovation and efficiencies in public services.
By law public sector suppliers and their sub-contracts will now be paid in 30 days. Public bodies will be visibly accountable via their annual late payment report and will be expected to report on their new spend with SME’s. Alongside this the bidding process will now be simplified as time consuming, complicated forms such as the ‘Pre-Qualification Questionnaire’ for low value public sector contracts have been abolished.
Also being launched today is the new online public sector marketplace. Compatible with smartphones and tablets this marketplace will host all public sector contracts and pipelines in one place. The website is free to use and will allow businesses to set up tailored email alerts for relevant contracts. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/contracts-finder
If SME’s find themselves subject to unethical or unfair public sector procurement practice there is a ‘Mystery Shopper’ service in place that allows suppliers to anonymously raise any concerns. The service is designed to detect issues quickly so they can be investigated and resolved. ‘Mystery Shopper’ also conducts pro-active spot checks on buyers.
The contact details for the Mystery Shopper team are:
MysteryShopper@crowncommercial.gov.uk 0345 010 3503 @GovMysteryShop
Visit http://bit.ly/smesupplygov to find out more information.