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Public contracts remain out of reach

Small businesses are still struggling to compete when it comes to securing public sector contracts, according to a new report from FSB.

Unstacking the Deck: Balancing the Public Procurement Odds found that just 23 per cent of small firms had worked for the public sector over the last 12 months, down two percentage points from 2014.

 

It also shows that the number of small firms that had expressed an interest in competing for a public sector contract in the last year had also fallen, down four percentage points to just 10 per cent. 

The report’s findings suggest that the Government has some work to do to reach its target of increasing procurement spend with SMEs to 
33 per cent by 2020.

FSB is calling on the Government and the public sector to step up efforts to remove blockages that are unfairly preventing smaller firms from supplying to the public sector. 
Proposals include forcing local authorities to publish all contracts over £10,000 on Contracts Finder, as central Government does.

This would put a stop to the practice of local authorities avoiding putting smaller contracts on the digital platform, and only publishing higher-value thresholds that are outside the reach of smaller businesses.

Each year the UK public sector spends over £200 billion on the procurement of goods and services from third parties.

Download the report at bit.ly/unstacking-the-deck