Contracts Finder: SMES bid for Government Contracts
In a letter today, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new online tool called Contracts Finder a tool that allows SMEs to see every central government tender opportunity.
The new tool has been launched amid a drive by the government to increase openness under its transparency commitment and Contracts Finder is open to businesses, government buyers and members of the general public.
Contracts Finder lets users browse through:
- Current live contract opportunities
- Closed tenders & documentation
- Contract awards & contract documents
The tool also has an email alert feature that allows users to be informed of contract opportunities as they become available.
Currently in "Phase One", Contracts Finder is expected to be developed over the coming months to add further features and functionality.
In addition, users are free to copy, publish, distribute, transmit, adapt and use the information stored in Contracts Finder for other purposes such as "mashups" although there are strict guidelines as to the use of the data under the terms of the Open Government Licence.
Other aims of the system are for the government to achieve an ambition of supplying 25% of government business to small and medium-sized businesses with opportunities for social enterprise and charities to win tenders too.
When the Cabinet Office last year presented its Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green (PDF), it found that central government departments were paying vastly different sums for the same services.
As an example, everyday items such as boxes of paper and printer cartridges varied in price between 78% and 89% – The lowest price paid for a box of paper was £8 and the highest £73 – A massive 89% difference. For printer cartridges the price varied between £86 and £398 – only 78% difference but a whopping £312 differential for the same printer cartridges!
If you can save the government and the taxpayer money and think your small business should be involved in bidding for government contracts then take a look at Contracts Finder.