The final awards ceremony was held for SPI clients from North Ayrshire recently to reward them for their participation and hard work. Once again these businesses...
SPI highlights from The Scottish Government Public Procurement Conference
Frustration and disappointment is the general feeling among small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) when it comes to tender for the Public sector affirmed Susan Love from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) at the Scottish Government Eight National Procurement Conference. Micro-businesses, those with fewer than ten employees, are a critical element of the economy, making up over 90% of all registered businesses in Scotland; however they are only accessing 7% of the Scottish Public Procurement market. Susan highlighted that more thought needs to be put on what is asked from SMEs on the tenders as terms and conditions are disproportionate. Particularly, there is a need for adjusting contracts to the size of what is bought. Susan, however, also commented that over the last years she has seen enthusiasm from public bodies to address SMEs’ issues and mentioned the Supplier Development programme (SDP) as useful support for SMEs. SDP is a local authority partnership programme established to offer SMEs the opportunity to grow and diversify through procurement.
Alastair Merrill, Commercial and Procurement Director at the Scottish Government, agreed on the need of a more clear communication about what the buyer wants to buy. He reminded to the audience that the consultation on the Procurement Bill still open until the 2 of November and encourage organisations to send their opinions. Alastair explained that one of the objectives of the Reform bill is to redefine the culture on what we want the Pre-qualification Questioners (PPQS) to be in the future. In his opinion Public procurement should delivered social benefit, add value to the tax payer and bring community benefits but also needs to have the capacity of resolving issues when things go wrong. He was very optimistic in the future ahead for Scottish Public Procurement and remarked that Scotland is in a good position comparing with other EU countries.
Overall, there seems to be an optimistic future lying ahead for SMEs to access a market that in Scotland already accounts for £9 billion. SMEs should use the advantage of being more flexible that corporate to gain public contracts. It shall be easier for them to adapt to the Pre-qualification Questioners (PPQS). SMEs need to gain self-confident on their own capabilities and apply for the public tenders.
SPI Business Development Specialist