Feeds

UK.gov backs SMEs for public sector contracts

Small is beautiful

Reducing security risks from open source software

The Government has given its strongest show of support yet towards helping smaller suppliers win more business in the public sector IT marketplace.

Alun Michael, the small business minister, has "urged" councils to open their doors wider to small firms and take advantage of the expertise, innovation and value for money gains potentially on offer.

The minister's call came in light of a new report on the "benefits of public sector procurement from small business" which concludes that government buyers should "seriously consider" bids from smaller firms.

The 122-page study reels off a list of success stories where forward-thinking public bodies received huge benefits through working with small and medium-sized enterprises.

Around half of the 20 case studies featured show how SMEs, acting either as a prime or sub-contractor, helped to deliver IT-enabled business change projects successfully for clients ranging from councils to large government departments.

One such example is a typical 'David and Goliath' story, where a small consultancy beat a large, incumbent supplier to win an important contract from a "major intergovernment body", with the resulting project proving "highly successful".

The cases studies in question were provided by the suppliers or buyers "with a good story to tell", the report acknowledges.

The study, however, highlights some consistent themes, notably that time and again, procurers effused about the extra qualities provided by the smaller supplier. In most cases this extra quality was due to the firm's "exceptional commitment" to the project in hand.

It comments: "This suggests that, in almost any field… where there has not been a significant, well directed effort by a procurer to explore the potential for more use of smaller businesses, a small business initiative should be seriously considered, and rejected or postponed only with good reason."

From the case studies, the report concludes that there is no "optimal" level of procurement from SMEs and each case needs to be judged on its own merits – dampening prospects that the Government will introduce SME 'quotas' or targets.

But it adds: "The case studies do however suggest that there is scope for achieving net benefits from more use of small businesses across very wide areas of procurement."

Many of the case studies involved the buyer taking proactive steps to widen their supplier base by including smaller firms.

The greatest scope for improving the use of SMEs in government procurement "lies in increasing procurement professionalism", says the report.

Its findings are due to be incorporated into updated government guidance.

© eGov monitor Weekly

eGov monitor Weekly is a free e-newsletter covering developments in UK eGovernment and public sector IT over the last seven days. To register go here.

Related link

A Study of the Benefits of Public Sector Procurement from Small Business (PDF: 929KB)

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.