Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Public Procurement proposals are welcome

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and The IoD (Institute of Directors) have both issued Press statements in the last few days welcoming the proposals published by the Cabinet Office on a radical overhaul of public procurement procedures and for opening up contracts to small busines.

On the 11th February the IOD issued the following news release - "IoD reaction to Public Procurement proposals"

Commenting on the package of measures announced by the Government today which are designed to open up the public procurement process to SMEs, IoD spokesman Alexander Ehmann, said:

“The IoD welcomes today’s announcements on public procurement. Making procurement easier for small and medium-sized businesses is long overdue. We are particularly pleased that the Government is abolishing the pre-Qualification Questionnaires for all procurement bids under £100,000. That will help SMEs by removing a layer of complex paperwork and assessment requirements. However, it remains to be seen whether today’s changes will benefit small businesses or whether risk-averse bureaucrats will soldier on with ‘safe’ choices of big brands

On the 13th February The REC issued the following news release - "REC welcomes public procurement proposals"

The Cabinet Office has published proposals for a radical overhaul of public procurement procedures and for opening up contracts to small businesses.

This is a significant development for recruiters looking to supply into the public sector and comes after several years of REC lobbying on procurement issues.

Discussions earlier this month with senior officials from the Office for Government Commerce (OGC) underlined the concerns of recruiters and the need for tendering procedures to be streamlined. Specific measures announced today include removing some of the pre-screening requirements in order to speed up the procurement process.

Underlining the implications of for recruiters, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said:

“At long last, we are starting to see action instead of just words. The REC has consistently argued for tendering procedures to be made more efficient. We seek a competitive and dynamic market place where recruitment businesses compete on their competence and capability. We also need to find the right balance between streamlining procedures and verifying quality standards.

“The Government has been very clear in its commitment to help SMEs gain access to public sector work. Its announcement is a tangible outcome of this. The REC will monitor how the measures are implemented on the ground and will continue to work constructively with Cabinet Office and OGC.”

Key measures announced include:
• The launch of the Contracts Finder website; available immediately, it identifies contracting opportunities over £10,000. Organisations will be able to specify online, all contracts they are interested in. Details will be provided free of charge.
• The creation of SME (Small Medium Enterprise) product surgeries will give SMEs the opportunity to pitch innovative products and services direct to a panel of senior procurement and operational professionals from central government and the wider public sector.
• The removal of PQQs (pre qualification questionnaires) for all contracts under £100,000.
• Firms will be able to submit their pre qualification data once, avoiding repeat submissions.
• The Cabinet Office’s LEAN Review into procurement processes will show what the Government is doing to reduce waste, tackle bureaucracy and lower the cost of doing business with Government.

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