Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

EU bid to simplify Public Sector procurement

Changes to EU legislation could simplify the way that small businesses bid for public sector contracts.

The European Commissions is calling for the reformation of the current public procurement system, to make it easier for SMEs to secure work in the sector. If the law was changed, it would offer real hope for UK SMEs to compete with larger businesses.

Currently small and medium businesses win between 31% and 38% of all public sector contracts, despite the fact that they make up over half of the total turnover of the EU economy.

New plans would simplify this process, as well as actively encouraging public sector bodies to be more SME friendly when putting out contracts for tender.

Karen Andrews, partner in the public sector team at Ward Hadaway believes this news will be welcomed by SMEs who have previously been intimidated or confused by the application process.

She commented: “Simplifying the procurement process will hopefully make it much easier for
SMEs to compete on a level playing field with larger businesses whose scale and resources have previously given them a substantial advantage when bidding for public sector work.

“Even though there have been cuts to public spending in the UK and other countries in the EU, the public sector still represents a potentially huge market to all kinds of small and medium-sized businesses and this move should help to free up access to that market.”

EU proposals include subdividing contracts into smaller lots to allow smaller businsses to effectively bid for work, limiting eligibility requirements and cutting down on red tape. EU members would also need to provide legal and economic advice to prepare businesses for the procurement process.

It is hoped that the changes will become law by June 2013.

Karen continued: “While these proposals have not yet been enacted, reforms to the public procurement process are most definitely on the agenda and SMEs with ambitions to boost their share of public sector work should take note.

“Even before any reforms are put in place, smaller businesses that take the right approach to bidding for public sector contracts can succeed, providing they know the right approach to take.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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