A new paper from the Federation of Small Businesses for Wales called “A Fresh Start for Public Procurement” has made a number of recommendations for a proactive SME procurement policy.
Business News Wales reports: “SMEs make a huge difference to our Welsh economy, and so does making the decision to purchase goods and services with them. Previous FSB Wales research with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies found that for every £1 spend with a local SME approximately 63p is recycled into the local economy, vs 40p with a larger company. This demonstrates the economic impact of spending with SMEs in Wales.
Despite this, research has also found that 60% of SMEs find that there are barriers to bidding for public sector contracts, and 28% do not feel able to compete with bigger suppliers. Moreover, 27% feel that the relevant eligibility criteria (such as level of turnover or relevant standards) tends to exclude them.”
Some barriers to SME engagement with procurement include:
An under-resourced procurement function
A lack of political imperative
A lack of a statutory footing
FSB policy chair said “There also needs to be more investment to ensure that there is support for the procurement profession to do the things that they currently struggle to. We want to see procurement contracts broken down into smaller chunks that are accessible to SMEs, but this can’t be done when the only objective is to get procurement contracts out of the door as quickly as possible.”
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