Webinar ways of winning contracts

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Alex Folkes, the Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources with procurement officer David Morgan

Businesses in Cornwall can now discover how to become more competitive when tendering for work without leaving their desks

This is thanks to a new initiative from Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership who have become the first in the country to use webinars to support local businesses to win more contracts from public sector organisations.

The webinars are the latest in a series of measures developed by the Council as part of its Cornwall Supplier Development Programme to help small and local businesses to become more competitive in winning contracts to supply goods, works and services to the public sector.

Alex Folkes, the Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources with procurement officer David Morgan
Alex Folkes, the Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources with procurement officer David Morgan

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.

The webinar programme is the brainchild of the Council’s procurement team and the LEP who are keen to help local firms compete on an even footing and create more local jobs. A pilot Webinar was trialled at the end of January and following the success of this event, a detailed programme of topics has now been agreed.

“We know that taking time away from work to travel to a seminar or conference can be difficult for many of our small and medium sized businesses,” said Alex Folkes, the Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources. “Webinars will enable these people to take part via the internet without leaving their homes or their offices.”

The webinar programme, which will be led by procurement officer David Morgan, begins on February 24 with a session offering an Introduction to Public Procurement between 1.30 and 2.30pm. There will then be a further three sessions taking place over the following four weeks.

These are:

  • February 27 – 3pm to 4 pm – Completing a Pre-Qualification questionnaire
  • March 21 – 9.30 am to 10.30 am – Introduction to Public Procurement
  • March 25 – 10 am to 11 am – Completing a Pre-Qualification questionnaire

LEP board member, Simon Tregoning, added: “As a businessman myself I know that the jargon and bureaucracy associated with public sector procurement can be off-putting and time-consuming but through this initiative, the LEP and Cornwall Council are making it much easier for businesses to access £1.5 billion of public sector contracts.”

It is planned to hold future webinars on responding to invitations to tender, an introduction to framework agreements and information on how to meeting policy requirements related to safeguarding, equality and diversity and environmental sustainability.

All the webinars will be recorded so anyone who missed them will be able to access them at any time in the future, from the Business Pulse website.

Recordings will be available from the Business Pulse website where businesses can also access the Cornwall Council tendering toolkit and find additional information on selling to the public sector.

For more information on the webinars, click here.