SMEs urged to bid for public sector contracts

Tapping into the public sector contract pipeline has just been made that little bit easier following publication of a guide designed to advise small businesses on how to increase their chances of winning bids for government contracts.

SMEs who follow the advice of ‘Tendering for Government Contracts – A Guide for Small Businesses’ could reap significant rewards. This is because the publication, which was jointly issued by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Small Business Service (SBS), highlights the fact that the public sector “spends a huge amount each year” and is ever on the lookout for new suppliers, large and small,

In many respects the sector represents a vast untapped market to those SMEs which may have avoided trying to gain access to public sector work due to the complicated bidding process and the legislation involved. However, both the OGC and SBS are aiming to make sure that small businesses receive equal treatment on a par with their larger competitors when vying for business.

OGC chief executive Peter Gershon says the guide shows start-up and growth businesses the most effective way of making their bid the most attractive to the government contractor or public sector organisation on the prowl for a new supplier. He sees the advice being proffered as an example of “the Government’s commitment to see more SMEs winning public sector contracts through open competition.”

The guide aims to help SMEs in three main ways. First, it provides details on where to look for the opportunities in the public sector. Second, it explains how a small business can bid for a public sector contract in such a way as to increase its chances of winning the customer. Finally, it provides details of a list of contacts to get in touch with, which should prove very useful.

To get hold of a copy of the guide either contact the DTI Publications Orderline on 0870-1502 500 (quoting URN 01/876) or visit .

Small firms miss out on public sector contracts

British businesses are missing out on public sector contracts worth billions of pounds because they are not advertised properly, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Public sector spending across Europe is worth €1.429 million (almost £1,000 billion), but the FSB has told the European Union that the way these lucrative deals are advertised, in huge documents that the average small business does not have time to read through, puts them at a disadvantage.

The lobby group also laments the fact that contracts worth less than £100,000 are not advertised at all. Although Approved Supplier lists are used, the way in which a business can get on to one of these is “shrouded in mystery”.

The FSB is asking the European Commission to help small firms by advertising public sector contracts more widely and allowing a business to register its interest without having to complete excessive paperwork.

FSB Policy Chairman John Walker says, “Small firms have to jump through hoops and wade through masses of red tape just to be considered for lucrative government deals. If the bureaucrats in Brussels are looking at ways to encourage enterprise, they should start by giving small firms a fair slice of government contracts and by reducing red tape to create a climate in which all small businesses can prosper.”

The FSBÂ’s complaints form part of its response to a Brussels Green Paper, which looks into the disparity in start-up and business growth rates between the USA and Europe.

Related Topics

Government contracts