The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is backing a Government campaign to help small businesses provide services to the public sector.
The Government wants to make it easier for small businesses to access some of the £230 billion of annual public sector spending. The aim is for 25% of central government spending to be with small firms by 2015.
It has set up an informal, anonymous ‘Mystery Shopper’ service allowing businesses to raise concerns, such as late payment or unfair or overly bureaucratic procurement practice, and highlight the barriers they encounter when bidding for, or working on, public sector contracts.
A new twitter handle @GovMysteryShop went live on July 1.
The LEP has been working with Cornwall Council to become the first in the country to use webinars to support local businesses to win more contracts from public sector organisations.
Business in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can access the webinars through Business Pulse where the LEP provides guidance on selling to the public sector, including a ‘procurement jargon buster’.
LEP board director, Simon Tregoning, said: “We know that the bureaucracy around public sector procurement is a major problem for small businesses.
“The LEP is committed to removing barriers to business growth, which is why we support the Government’s moves to make it easier for businesses sell to the public sector.”
In 2012/2013, public sector organisations in Cornwall spent £1.5 billion purchasing a wide range of services ranging from social care to waste management.
Cornwall Council spent around £460 million of this total, with contracts varying in value from a minimum of a few thousand to many millions of pounds.