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Public Sector Procurement And The Barriers For Small Businesses June 26, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, News, Policy, Tender Alert.
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Liverpool Chamber of Commerce recognises the difficulties faced by small businesses when tendering for public sector contracts. Barriers often quoted include:

  • accessing tendering opportunities
  • finding relevant contracts
  • the pressure to respond to calls within limited timescales
  • contracts being too large or diverse for a small business to compete
  • even the language of procurement has presented problems.

As a Chamber of Commerce we have worked over a number of years to redress this imbalance for our members and have developed unique products such as our tender alert service to address some of the issues.

An independent inquiry has recently been launched looking specifically at the barriers faced by small businesses and social enterprises when tendering for public sector work. An opportunity has now arisen to put your views directly to government and as your Chamber we encourage you to respond to the consultation and have your views heard.

As part of the Enterprise Strategy and Budget 2008 the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has announced that Anne Glover, Chief executive of Amadeus Capital Partners, will lead an independent inquiry into the barriers faced by small firms looking to supply goods or services to the public sector. She has also been asked to review the impact of government actions over the last five years and to make recommendations on the steps Government should take to ensure that more small firms are able to access the market place.

In addition, the committee will consider the practicality of setting a 30 per cent target of all public sector contracts being awarded to small firms. Anne has been asked to report to the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory reform before the Pre Budget Report later this year.

A Call for Evidence has been launched and businesses, representative organisations and public sector procurers are now being asked to input into this work to ensure that the committee are fully informed of the real issues faced at grass root level and to give businesses and those working in this area the opportunity to shape future policy.

To have your say please access the short questionnaire here.

In addition, a number of workshops designed to debate specific issues in depth and identify potential recommendations going forward will be held at the following venues.

Workshops for business will take place on:

  • Thursday 10 July, 9:30 at the Conference Centre BERR, 1 Victoria Street, London.  SW1H 0ET
  • Tuesday 15 July, 9:30 at Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, Kingston Park Stadium, Brunton Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne. NE13 8AF

Workshop places are limited and will be on a first come, first served basis.  Both workshops are expected to end at [12:00] with a networking lunch.

If you have an interest in this area and would like to attend then please respond directly to secure a place by Friday 4 July, by emailing procurementworkshops@berr.gsi.gov.uk stating you name, business contact details and identifying which workshop you wish to attend.

Liverpool Chamber will be compiling a direct response to the consultation. If you would prefer to contribute to this rather than complete the questionnaire then please get in touch.  Please contact Head of Policy, Maresa Molloy by telephone on 0151 227 1234 Ext 2234 or by email at maresa.molloy@liverpoolchamber.org.uk.

The call for evidence is open to the 8th August 2008.

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