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New Strategy Widens SME Access to Government

22 October 2003

A greater role for smaller suppliers in doing business with Government was announced by Ministers today under a new national strategy to improve procurement skills and practice in local authorities.


The three-year strategy is designed to realise the full potential of local government procurement, with widespread adoption of eProcurement seen as crucial to its success.


The new measures also call on councils to publish details of contracts on their websites and require tenders to demonstrate value for money through use of small companies. Local authorities will now be expected to develop "diverse and competitive sources of supply", including procurement from small companies.


Welcoming the strategy, Local Government Minister, Phil Hope, stressed the "major impact" of procurement on all aspects of service delivery and performance.


"The implementation of this strategy will help us realise our vision of higher quality services throughout the country", the Minister said. "It will also help councils achieve their strategic objectives and secure better value for money in procurement decisions.


"Our citizens deserve access to world-class services from their councils, ranging from excellent education to efficient street maintenance and up-to-date leisure acilities. Many councils are already doing much to achieve this but we must bring all up to the standard of the best."


The move follows the publication of a report by Better Regulation Task Force and Small Business Council which highlighted that small and medium sized firms (SMEs) often find themselves overlooked when public authorities award contracts.

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