Through the passing of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Act and its broad range of measures, SMEs have seen the reduction of many barriers to growth and access to funding.
As a result, in this blog we focus on one particular area that the SBEE is contributing to: the reduction of barriers to public sector contracts. In particular, the bill lays the foundations necessary to ensure public sector procurements are run in a more timely and efficient manner as well as being friendly to smaller businesses and enterprises.
Summarising the SBEE’s Public Procurement Provisions
Section 39 of the SBEE pertains to delegated power regulations on procurement. In layman’s terms, this facet of the law provides the new government with the ability to implement future measures to both remove the unnecessary barriers faced by SMEs and streamline the procurement practices across the whole of the public sector. All in all, great news for the UK’s smaller businesses. For example, these measures could include:
an efficient and timely procurement process
the improvement of procurement processes and the management of contracts
the introduction of free procurement documents and information
Section 40 of the bill on the other hand, focuses on investigations on such procurement practices, placing contracting authorities in such a position that they have a duty to “co-operate with investigations [as a means of enabling] investigations to proceed more efficiently”, according to insights from Tech UK.
Public Contracts Regulations – 2015’s New Measures
In a bid to provide SMEs with more direct access to public sector contracts and, therefore, contribute to the UK’s ultimate goal of establishing itself as a haven for growing businesses, the following measures have been introduced:
For procurements below the EU thresholds, a new measure has seen the abolition of a pre-qualification stage, in addition to a requirement to have regard to guidance on qualitative selection issued by the Cabinet Office for such threshold procurements
In the case of all public contracts, there is a requirement for contracting authorities to insert provisions to ensure 30 days payment terms are passed through the supply chain
Also of benefit to SMEs is the requirement for new public sector opportunities to be published in one central portal (the new Contracts Finder portal). Award notices for contracts and call-offs from framework agreements must also be published.
These reforms and measures undoubtedly help paint the future for our SMEs as a bright one. However, these are just one of many facets of the SBEE that are designed to rejuvenate our economy through the growth of smaller businesses and startups. To be guided through exactly how the SBEE could impact your business, download our detailed infographic by clicking the button below.