Over a quarter of total procurement now with SMEs with further reforms to increase spend.
Central government spent an unprecedented £11.4bn with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2013-14, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, recently announced, as he revealed new figures showing that a record 26.1% of government spend went to SMEs.
The new data shows that central government spent 10.3% directly with SMEs, and 15.8% indirectly – meeting the aspiration it set in 2010 for 25% of procurement spend to be with SMEs by the end of this Parliament.
Acknowledging that there was still further work to do, the government launched a refresh of its contracts finder website, offering a much improved search including by location. The site covers current and future public sector contracts – above £10,000 in central government and £25,000 in the wider public sector. It’s free to use, including from smart phones and tablets. It lists all opportunities, allows a one-off registration, has built-in alerts, allows for more specific business-type searches and notifications and standardises public sector contracts, making them accessible and understandable. Complicated forms such as the Pre-Qualification Questionnaires for low value public sector contracts have also been abolished.
New legislation also ensures that:
30 day payment terms will be mandated down the supply chain - to suppliers and sub-contractors
public bodies will have to publish an annual late payment report to sharpen accountability
the bidding process will be simplified across the wider public sector with complex forms, such as pre-qualification questionnaires, abolished for low value contracts
the procurement process for public sector contracts will be accelerated.