A new bill is currently being passed through Parliament which aims to make it easier for businesses to enter public sector supply chains.
The Procurement Bill lays out new rules and procedures for central government departments, their bodies and the wider public sector when selecting suppliers and awarding contracts with a value above certain thresholds.
In this blog, we look at what the Bill means, and the ways in which it could benefit Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) or Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) looking to work with the Government and public sector in the future.
What is the Procurement Bill?
To put it simply, the Procurement Bill will make it easier to do business with central Government and the public sector by breaking down some of the barriers which currently exist, particularly in organisations such as the NHS.
Looking ahead, contracting authorities will be expected to consider SMEs and VCSEs to ensure a level playing field for all. Particular focus will be put on communicating with new suppliers of all sizes and making sure bidding times are realistic, especially for smaller businesses who may not have access to dedicated bidding teams. SMEs may also find themselves in a better position than their larger counterparts with smaller overheads allowing them to put forward more competitive prices.
Other benefits will include:
Greater flexibility of an authority’s ‘commercial pipelines’ and details of opportunities worth up to £2 million published up to 18 months in advance. This will give smaller contractors the chance to plan ahead and make the most of any relevant opportunities which may arise.
The introduction of clear rules about how authorities can communicate with businesses ahead of releasing a tender, giving potential new contractors the chance to network more freely with the authorities without having to worry about falling foul of the guidelines.
The introduction of a central platform where clear information about forthcoming tenders is published making the entire process much more transparent. Businesses will be able to set up email notifications to alert them about bids tailored to them.
A ‘tell us once’ approach – which allows details to be entered into a central platform or database once regardless of how many tenders a business may wish to bid for. There will also be a more flexible approach from the authorities to awarding contracts.
A detailed assessment summary which shows how an unsuccessful bid compares against the winning applicant.
Support with contract management to ensure the successful contractor is able to deliver. New rules will also be introduced removing the need for insurance relating to the performance of a contract.
An enhanced commercial tool called a Dynamic Market will be introduced to allow suppliers to join frameworks at any time rather than being locked out of the process, providing many new opportunities for smaller businesses.
How will it benefit me and my business?
Knowing how to navigate supply chain routes into organisations including the NHS has always been challenging so a Bill which helps to smooth that process will be a huge benefit to innovative small business and organisations looking for a way in.
Greater transparency on all signs can only be a good thing and will enable businesses to be better informed about the opportunities available and the best ways to get involved.
Proper feedback about why a particular bid failed is also important in giving businesses the tools and information they need to grow and succeed and come back with a successful bid next time.
The legislation will allow an authority to award contracts to ‘the most advantageous tender’ without having to be constrained by whichever offers ‘best value,’ a huge step forward for smaller, more local businesses.
And 30-day payment terms will apply throughout public sector supply chains, regardless of whether they are written into the contract. This will mean that businesses will receive payment from contracting authorities within 30 days.
At K Low Consulting, we welcome these changes and look forward to the Bill being implemented as soon as possible.
In the meantime, if you need help with commercial bid writing,bid management and strategy, get in touch with K Low Consulting today to see how we can assist you.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.