Small Businesses’ Views Sought

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Anne Glover’s committee, announced as part of the Enterprise Strategy and Budget 2008, today issued an online call for evidence as part of its work to help more small and medium sized businesses win public sector contracts. The committee is considering ways to increase opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the practicality of a goal of such firms winning 30% of all public sector contracts.

Small firms, public purchasers and industry groups are invited to share their experiences of doing business across both central government and local authorities using the portal set up at http://www.ogc.gov.uk/SME_Consultation.asp.

The Glover review will consider issues such as improved tendering procedures, better information for SMEs and reducing the barriers SMEs may face when competing for public sector contracts. The committee builds on previous work to assist SMEs carried out by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Speaking of the Budget 2008 initiative, Angela Eagle, Exchequer Secretary said:

“The UK is one of the best places in the world to do business. Working in partnership and broadening the opportunities is the key to ensuring the UK is properly equipped to meet the challenges ahead.

“I want to be sure that SMEs enjoy the same access to public sector contracts as their bigger counterparts and I want to learn of their experiences across small and large contract values in shaping future policy.”

Business Minister Shriti Vadera said:

“Many smaller businesses are more innovative and offer better value for money but are often disadvantaged when competing against large companies with more resources to dedicate to tender applications.

“The Anne Glover review will help identify where we can improve accessibility for SMEs and increase their participation in government procurement.”

Anne Glover, CEO of Amadeus Capital Partners, said:

“SMEs play a vital role in the UK’s economy and it is important that we make it as easy as possible for them to participate in public sector procurement. An order is more valuable than a grant to an SME because it holds the promise of future business.

“The public sector spends around £160billion a year on goods and services, and SMEs offer the opportunity to contribute both innovation and value for money to the Government’s agenda to deliver world class public services.”

The Enterprise Strategy, published alongside the Budget in March, contains a number of measures to provide support to SMEs. It includes a three month free trial, currently available, to provide small and medium sized businesses with access to thousands of public sector contract opportunities via supply2.gov.uk

Notes to Editors:

Budget 2008 Announcement

Anne Glover was appointed by the Chancellor Alistair Darling in the Budget 2008 to provide advice on measures to improve SME access to public procurement contracts. The Committee will report to the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory reform before the Pre-Budget Report later this year.

The online call for evidence is live via http://www.ogc.gov.uk/SME_Consultation.asp and will close on August 8.

The Group’s Terms of Reference include:

  • The progress to date on implementing the recommendations on SME participation in public procurement contained within the 2003 joint Better Regulation Task Force and Small Business Council report, ‘Government, Supporter and Customer?’
  • The impact of these and other actions in the last five years on improving SME access to public contracts, with particular reference to young and innovative companies
  • How SME success in winning public contracts, including sub-contracting, could be more reliably measured
  • The practicality of setting a goal for SMEs to win 30% of all public sector business in the next five years
  • What action should be taken in order to make further progress in the next five years, within the scope of the EU procurement rules and the overarching policy of value for money

The following are the members of the advisory committee:

  • Professor Sir Roy Anderson (Rector, Imperial College London and former Chief Scientific Officer at MOD)
  • Luke Georghiou (Professor of Science & Technology Policy and Management, University of Manchester)
  • Crawford Gillies (Director of Standard Life plc; Non Executive Chairman of Hammonds LLP and Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd)
  • Joe Ippolito (Partner at Deloitte and Touche LLP)
  • Martha Johnson (Vice President at Computer Sciences Corporation, former Chief of Staff of the United States General Services Administration)
  • William Sargent (Joint Chief Executive, Framestore CFC, Executive Chair of the Better Regulation Executive and former chair of the Small Business Council)
  • Tim Byles (Chief Executive, Partnerships for Schools and former Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council)
  • John Warrington (Director, Policy and Innovation at NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency).

About Supply2Gov

  • Supply2.gov.uk is the government’s portal consolidating access to lower-value procurement opportunities from across the public sector. Supply2.gov.uk opens up the market to all types of business including small businesses, start-up companies and social enterprises to search and view lower-value contract opportunities, typically under £100,000 and promote themselves to the UK public sector.
  • Supply2.gov.uk offers public sector buyers the opportunity to post their lower-value contract opportunities and access profiles of pre-qualification information created by suppliers registering on the site.

SMEs

  • The Glover Committee will use the EU definition of an SME (Recommendation 2003/361/EC), which stipulates a headcount of less than 250 and a maximum annual turnover of £40m.
  • The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) leads government departments and the wider public sector to make improvements in buying goods and services. As an office of HM Treasury, the OGC works with central Government departments, and other public sector organisations, to ensure the achievement of five key goals:

Delivery of value for money from third party spend;

  • Delivery of projects to time, quality and cost; realising benefits;
  • Getting the best from the Government’s £30bn estate;
  • Driving forward the improvement of central Government capability in procurement, Project and Programme Management, and estates management through the development of people skills, processes and tools;
  • Assisting departments in the delivery of Government’s policy goals on sustainability, innovation, equality and support for small and medium sized enterprises.
  • OGC is an expert in providing guidance and standards on procurement best practice, fostering productive partnerships and realising the benefits of collaborative solutions to meet the buying needs of the public sector.
  • It provides innovative ways to develop further central Government’s capability in procurement, and leads the Government Procurement Service, which supports those operating as procurement professionals and those working towards gaining professional status within the civil service.
  • The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies

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