Procurement rule changes to help SMEs
The government will make it easier for small, local businesses to win public sector contracts, under planned changes to procurement rules.
Under plans published in a Cabinet Office green paper, the government will allow the public sector to “buy British” for contracts not subject to international trade rules, by allowing competitions for government contracts under £4.7m for public works to be limited to small businesses, voluntary, community and social enterprises, or to a certain geographical areas.
Other measures in the green paper include:
- Removing over 300 regulations to create a single, uniform rulebook;
- Allowing buyers to include wider social benefits of the supplier, such as economic, social and environmental factors, when assessing who to award a contract to, while still also considering value for money;
- Giving buyers the power to take account of a bidder’s past performance, allowing them to exclude suppliers who have failed in the past;
- A new unit to oversee public procurement, with powers to improve commercial skills of public sector contractors;
- A single digital platform for registering contracts
Cabinet Office minister, Lord Agnew, said: “The measures outlined today will transform the current outdated system with new rules, providing flexibility to the public sector and less burden on business.
“These long-standing plans have been developed with international procurement specialists and will help unleash innovation across the country and provide a fairer system for small businesses.”
The green paper is available here.