Access to Procurement for Small Businesses

Following on from the recommendations of the Better Regulation Task Force/Small Business Council Report -Government: Supporter or Customer? - in May 2003, the then DTI in conjunction with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), undertook a programme of work aimed at further enhancing small business access to public procurement opportunities. The programme was completed in March 2007.

Responsibility for public procurement is with individual government departments and policy is led by the OGC. BIS retains an interest in encouraging the public sector to continue to improve access to public procurement and a number of useful sources of information are listed below. Advice to business on how to sell to the public sector can be found on the Overview of Selling to Government page of the Business Link website.

A progress report on access to public procurement for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can be accessed from the link below (PDF 13 pages).

Progress on improving access to public sector procurement: March 2007 update

Annual Survey of Contracts Awarded by Public Sector Bodies to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

The Small Business Service has carried out a survey to identify the number of contracts awarded by public sector bodies to SMEs. The results of the survey can be downloaded below (PDF 20 pages).

Small Business Service annual survey of contracts awarded by public sector bodies to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) 2004-2005

Tendering for Government Contracts

The publication Tendering for Government Contracts (PDF 22 pages) advises small businesses on finding and bidding for public sector work.

The opportunities portal was launched in 2006 and provides small businesses and other organisations with access to information on central and local government procurement opportunities, typically under £100k. Further details can be found on the website.

Smaller Supplier.....Better Value

Smaller Supplier.....Better Value is a joint publication from the former DTI and Office of Government Commerce (OGC). It raises awareness amongst public sector procurers of the benefits of purchasing from small businesses. A copy of the guide is available from the OGC website.

The guide is backed by evidence and case studies from the DTI report A Study of the Benefits of Public Sector Procurement from Small Businesses (PDF 122 pages).

A study of the benefits of public sector procurement from small businesses

Small Business Friendly Concordat

A voluntary, non-statutory code of practice that sets out what small firms and others supplying Local Government can expect when tendering for Local Authority contracts. The Concordat forms part of the National Procurement Strategy for Local Government. You can read further information about the Small Business Friendly Concordat on the Department for Communities and Local Government website

A list of Local Authorities who have signed up to the Concordat can also be viewed on the DCLG website.