Scottish SMEs ‘should capitalise on public contracts’

Public bodies in Scotland are being encouraged to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to their contracts.


Public bodies in Scotland are being encouraged to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to their contracts.

Public bodies in Scotland are being encouraged to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to their contracts.

Finance minister John Swinney outlines a range of measures which can be taken to increase the number of small firms, charities and social enterprises winning public sector contracts.

He suggests small businesses would benefit from more promotion of the free Public Contracts Scotland online portal which highlights opportunities.

In addition, outcome-based tenders which encourage innovation and payment terms that ensure settlement within 30 days could make public sector contracts more attractive.

Spending with SMEs should be measured through a best practice indicator to identify any trends, while business relationships could be improved by the adoption of a suppliers’ charter, Swinney claims.

The minister points out that public bodies spend around £8 billion each year on goods and services and says they have a duty to help small companies.

He adds: ‘The public sector needs to build effective relationships with SMEs and ensure that suppliers can quickly and easily find out about these contracting opportunities.’

Earlier this month, Swinney called on more firms in the country to apply for support under the Small Business Bonus Scheme, claiming almost 94,000 companies could receive help with their property rates through the initiative.

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