Prime Minister David Cameron has unveiled a package of measures to open procurement to SMEs in a bid to “relight the fires of entrepreneurship”.
Mr Cameron joined Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude at a SME summit at the Treasury where he pledged to break up big contracts and force large contractors to open their supply chains to smaller companies.
The event coincided with the launch of the Contracts Finder system, a new resource where all government contracts will be published bringing together OJEU notices with smaller contracts worth less than £100,000.
The government has also promised to bring more transparency into the procurement process to shine a light on contract award criteria so that smaller firms can better understand the process.
Mr Cameron said: “Companies will be able to see deals done and say ‘I could do that for the same as what they are charging’. We are going to make the whole system more welcoming for SMEs. We are going to break up large contracts into smaller elements so SMEs can get involved and where that’s not possible we will work with larger suppliers to increase opportunities for smaller suppliers.”
The range of measures announced included “new product surgeries”, where small firms will be able to pitch their innovations to government.
Mr Maude said the package represents a “real cultural change” from government and urged SMEs to help reshape the system.
He announced a new Crown commercial representative whose role will be to help open a dialogue between procurement managers and the SME supply chain, giving them a single point of contact.