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Public Sector Procurement for SMEs


A copy of the presentation I prepared for the FSB in Birmingham.

A copy of the presentation I prepared for the FSB in Birmingham.

Published in Business , Technology
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  • Delivered for NWDA and LEGI partnerships in 2010. Over 100 delegates.
  • Under 15K – use an existing arrangement or seek best value (quotes) £15K – 75K – competitive tender, min 3 RFQ, - use of approved list Over £75K –use existing approved arrangements or issue a tender (and follow EU procedures if the value is above the EU threshold) EU – Supplies & Services - £144K Works - £3.9M The procurement process has to be fair, objective, transparent and auditable – we have to comply with the EU procurement Directives, domestic legislation and Council Standing Orders. Most Economically Advantageous Tender Alcatel 10 day standing period.


  • 1. ‘ Navigating your way through Public Procurement’– A presentation for small businesses, July 2011 Rob Weaver, Development Director ,
  • 2.
    • Agenda
      • What is Procurement?
      • The Scale of Public Sector Procurement.
      • Public Sector Procurement Processes
      • Barriers to SMEs
      • Recent Changes
      • Next Steps & Getting Started in Birmingham
  • 3. What is Procurement?
  • 4. Procurement is...
      • The process of acquisition of goods, services and works…
      • From pens and pencils through to major services.
  • 5. The Scale of Public Sector Procurement
  • 6. The Scale of the Opportunity
      • The public sector employs 25% of the British workforce, and spends more than £175billion annually
      • £27billion on the purchase of goods and services by local authorities
      • NHS spend in each English region of at least £10billion.
      • up to 600 new contract opportunities are published every week
  • 7. Public Sector Procurement Processes
  • 8. Why is Public Sector Procurement different?
      • Subject to EU legislation – aimed to remove barriers in the EU single market
      • Subject to UK legislation – competition law, Best Value etc
      • Subject to audit
      • Accountable to government and the electorate
      • Many services are sensitive or high profile
  • 9. Public Sector Procurement Processes
      • Rules and Regulations
        • Contract Procedure rules
          • Tender Thresholds
        • EU Procurement Regulations
          • European Thresholds
      • Tender Process (Open or Restricted)
        • 2 stages:
          • Pre-qualification – Restricted Only
          • Invitation to Tender -ITT
      • Evaluations based on ‘MEAT’
      • Contract Award
  • 10. Public Sector Procurement Processes – Capacity Issues
      • Financial Health (contracts over certain threshold – c.£75,000)
      • Insurance
      • References
      • Staff Turnover
      • Equal Opportunities
      • Freedom of Information Disclosure
      • Environmental Policy/Sustainability
      • Health & Safety
      • Non-Collusive Tendering
      • Tender-Specific Questionnaire
  • 11. Barriers to SMEs
  • 12. Public Sector Procurement – Barriers to SMEs (1)
      • Insufficient information about the tender
      • Lack of clarity in the invitation to tender
      • Insufficient opportunity to ask questions about the tender prior to tendering
      • Insufficient time to prepare a tender
      • The large contract value relative to the size of your company
      • Technical qualification criteria too high
  • 13. Public Sector Procurement – Barriers to SMEs (2)
      • Financial requirements such as bank guarantees too onerous
      • Paper work’ requirements of tenders too onerous
      • Over-emphasis on price in selection of contractors
      • awarding authorities’ over-emphasis on price
  • 14. Public Sector Procurement – Recent Changes
  • 15. Public Sector Procurement – Recent Changes (1)
      • The government expects to award 25% of government contracts (by volume) to small and medium-sized enterprises.
      • The introduction of a standardised core pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) across central government.
      • The investigation of options to enable suppliers to submit standard PQQ data just once to further simplify the process for suppliers
      • A “Lean Review” to uncover the causes of delay in the procurement process and to suggest actions to rectify them.
  • 16. Public Sector Procurement – Recent Changes (2)
      • The launch of a “Contracts Finder system” in March 2011. http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk
      • A focus on targeting action in those markets “where it is known small businesses are prevalent and can offer value for money” A Government gateway password is required in order to access all features on the site
  • 17. Public Sector Procurement – Award Criteria
      • Lowest Price or
      • ‘ Most Economically Advantageous Tender’ (MEAT)
      • MEAT Criteria
        • Quality; Price; technical merit; running costs; environmental characteristics; after sales.
      • Triple Bottom Line – economic, social and environmental factors – comprises ‘Sustainable Procurement’
      • Sustainable Procurement is a requirement NOT an option
        • Economic can include whole life value; sustainability and wider community benefits;
        • supply chain benefits – Bombardier issue.
  • 18. Public Sector Procurement – Next Steps and Getting Started
  • 19. Basic Tips
      • Maintain a database of basic information likely to be requested in tender exercises (once only exercise)
      • Deploy a tender team
      • Prepare a bid strategy – competition; chance of winning; resource and cost implications.
      • Be compliant
      • Ask questions!
  • 20. Sources of Opportunities
      • http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk
      • https://www.competefor.com/
      • https://wmcoe.bravosolution.co.uk/
      • http://www.finditinbirmingham.com
      • https://in-tendhost.co.uk/blackcountry
  • 21. Help Needed?
      • National SME Engagement Programme – www.supplygov.co.uk
      • Capacity, Tender Writing and Appraisal
        • Model Policies
        • One-to-one assistance/surgeries
        • Bid Writing
  • 22. Rob Weaver Development Director C3 Connected Consulting Ltd www.c3consulting.org.uk [email_address] 0121 422 5300 / 07792 244614 http://uk.linkedin.com/in/robweaver70 http://twitter.com/robweaverwm http://robweaverregen.wordpress.com