The planned portal will enable all businesses to easily view and bid for contracts advertised by Government buyers at both local and national levels, as well as opening up a new pool of suppliers to the Government. The SBS and OGC believe it will be particularly beneficial to the UK’s 4 million small and medium-sized businesses, which have previously had little access to public sector procurement opportunities.
Its launch is a result of a recommendation in the 2003 Better Regulation Task Force/Small Business Council report on reducing barriers to public procurement. Two successful pilot schemes in the West Midlands and in Haringey in North London have helped shape the national portal.
As well as enabling businesses to access contract opportunities the portal, through OGC, will offer standard simplified tender documentation and advice on how to put a tender together.
“I want to make sure that small firms of all types have access to a slice of the public sector procurement cake,” said Small Business and Enterprise Minister Nigel Griffiths. “By developing a national portal to bring together buyers and sellers we can cut the time and effort that small firms spend hunting for contracts.”
The portal is expected to go live in late summer this year. The SBS has just launched the open competitive tendering process for provision of the website and, in the spirit of the whole project, small firms are encouraged to apply.
See also: Improved access to government tenders