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Government consults on SME-friendly public procurement

The Government has launched a consultation on plans to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to bid for public sector contracts.

Under the plans, suppliers who deal with the public sector can expect all organisations to follow a single set of principles when buying goods and services.

The aim of the proposals is to standardise and simplify the way in which contracts are advertised, bid for and paid for.

Proposals include: introducing a requirement for all contracts over £10,000 to be accessible on the same site; a ban on pre-qualification questionnaires for low value contracts; and a new single requirement for high value contracts. In addition, suppliers further down the supply chain will benefit from the same standard payment terms offered to prime contractors to ensure prompt payment.

Chloe Smith, Cabinet Office Minister, said, ‘Removing barriers and setting out a consistent, single set of SME-friendly principles for the whole public sector will provide the right support to encourage significant business and growth opportunities for SMEs, and help give the UK a better starting position in the global race’.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed the consultation. Jim Bligh of the CBI said, ‘Opening up public services markets to lots more companies will boost competition and means the Government and the taxpayer will pay less’.