12 August 2013

On 13 May, Lord Young published Growing Your Business report. This identified the need to further open up the £230 billion worth of public sector contracts to small businesses.
In the report he recommended legislating to abolish pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQ) on contracts under €200k across the public sector, and setting “single market” principles which suppliers can expect when doing business with the public sector.  These principles would simplify and standardise the bidding, payment and advertising of contracts, and would remove the complexity, cost and inconsistency when trying to sell to more than one local authority or public sector body.  This would help SMEs access the £230 billion per year that is spent on goods and services across the whole public sector.

These proposals have been fully supported by industry and central government, and in order to take them forward will be consulting on these high level standards shortly.

The questions in the consultation largely directly follow on from Lord Young’s recommendations, and are likely to be based around the following themes:

        Use of PQQs in public contracts
        Standard Core PQQs
        Providing PQQ information on a ‘once for the public sector’ basis
        Accessing all contract opportunities through Contracts Finder
        Reporting on procurement spend with SMEs
        Reporting on use of centrally negotiated deals
        Standard payment terms through the supply chain
        Performance bonds
        Encouraging the use of electronic invoicing 

 This agenda should interest a range of partners and sectors, including business representative organisations, the voluntary and community sector and individual suppliers and providers.  The reforms will include all public sector bodies where possible, including local authorities, the police and health agencies.  Therefore DCLG want to ensure responses to the consultation cover all bases and are constructive and effective.

DCLG are happy to speak to any interested parties, either in informal meetings, on line, or as an agenda item at meetings or networks already arranged over the summer.  DCLG want to help identify key issues and concerns, and also enable you to prepare and research areas in preparation for your responses once the consultation is published.

FIRESA Council is seeking a meeting with DCLG to determine the implications for fire fighting sector procurement.

Click here to read the full report.