New Procurement Measures Help Small Businesses
Government measures to make it easier for small firms to access public sector contracts should ease the impact of the spending cuts on smaller suppliers, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said.
In the Backing Small Business (PDF) report, unveiled at its recent Summit for Small Business, the Government outlined plans to simplify the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) that suppliers have to fill in to apply for public sector contracts. The new PQQ will be available from 1st December 2010.
It also pledged to ensure 25% of new contracts go to small firms with immediate effect, as well as detailing plans requiring public departments to publish data on how many contracts they award to small firms. Many of the measures are recommendations of the Glover Review, carried out by the previous Government.
“Small suppliers could lose contracts as a result of the spending cuts, but these measures should stop so many firms from losing contracts and will make it much easier for them to bid for and win new ones,”
said Federation of Small Businesses spokeswoman, Prue Watson.
“It has previously been too difficult and time consuming for small businesses to go through the public procurement process, but now the PQQ is going to be simplified and standardised it will make it more possible for them to bid. Government departments will also now also be under pressure to make sure they consider small firms. However, the Government must enforce this commitment to make it a reality.”
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said:
“Today’s package of measures will help to remove the barriers many small businesses face and eliminate complexities and waste in the procurement process.”
Other measures announced in the report included a £2-billion extension to the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme over the next four years, a further £200 million commitment to the Enterprise Capital Funds, and plans to encourage more entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas by enabling council tenants to start home businesses.
The Government also announced that employment minister Lord Young has replaced Lord Alan Sugar as Enterprise Adviser to the Prime Minister. The Apprentice star was fired by David Cameron when the Coalition took office in May.
The FSB welcomed Young’s appointment.
“He is outspoken against red tape and he is very keen on small business issues, so we hope he will help push through changes to make life easier for small firms,” said Watson.