East Sussex FSB have put the spotlight on gaining more business from Councils for smaller, local firms. At a recent event at the Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club, Adam Bennett of the East Sussex Procurement Hub (pictured) gave a presentation on how smaller local firms can find contract opportunities, register their details and tender for suitable work.
The Hub was established in 2010 and now provide a shared service across Councils, namely Hastings, Eastbourne, Lewes, Wealden and Rother. It undertakes most of the procurement activity and is responsible for setting rules and best practice. Adam said, “it is important that Councils offer value for money and are transparent and accountable in the way taxpayers money is spent”. The Hub are always looking for added value in contracting, in terms of social, environmental and economic benefit.
The Hub oversees a combined annual spend of £115 million with the main areas of expenditure in Environmental Services, ICT, Financial Services, Facilities Management and Construction. Nearly 46% of contractors are small and medium enterprises (SME’s). Martin Searle, FSB Development Manager, who invited Adam along, said: “our aim is to let FSB members know that business is out there from Councils and they are keen to see tender bids and quotes from smaller, local firms. Councils want to support the local economy and are looking out for competitive bids.”
Adam outlined the key procurement portals to investigate in order to access tenders, register company details and submit bids.
Supply to East Sussex - Free to register. Supply to East Sussex is a resource to facilitate the growth of local business through the development of a local supply chain. Local businesses can find details of local contract opportunities from a range of organisations, including Local Authorities and other public sector bodies such as Councils, Universities and Health Services.
South East Shared Services Portal - Free to register. Expand your horizons by supplying neighbouring Councils, view existing Contract Details.
Apply for opportunities and correspond with the authority directly. You can view what’s being bought right now and what’s coming in the near future. Keep your standard accreditations and documents on the system ready to submit. Submit all bids on one system without paper!
Contracts Finder - Contracts Finder lets you search for information about contracts worth over £10,000 with the government and its agencies. You can use Contracts Finder to: search for contract opportunities in different sectors; find out what’s coming up in the future; look up details of previous tenders and contracts. You can create an account to get email updates and save your searches. You can still search and apply for contracts without an account.
Constructionline - A specialist portal for those interested in construction related work.
Adam concluded with some hints and tips for success in bidding which included understanding the objectives and criteria for the contract award and focussing on this in the company response. The Hub are looking for clear and concise solutions with understandable costing, ready for evaluation. Further hints and tips are available at www.wealden.gov.uk/procurementhub
The next FSB Connect Eastbourne event is a summer lunch 12-1400 on 14 August at the beautiful Priory Court Hotel, opposite Pevensey Castle. Free parking. Learn more and book online here