Driving competitiveness through Public Sector Procurement Helping You Influence

Driving competitiveness through Public Sector Procurement

The true measure of effective public sector procurement must be to have public money being spent in a way that can fully meet the requirements of the buyer whilst also supporting localised business competitiveness and benefitting the communities in which the money is being spent.

East Midlands Chamber is committed towards helping local firms win and retain more business. Likewise, the public sector is looking to extend its supply-chains and “localise” its expenditure as much as possible. EMC brokers this interface, enabling the private sector to engage with – and win business from – the public sector, both locally and nationally.

Currently, this work has involved hosting seminar events together with public sector partners - including local authorities, public sector housing providers, universities and the health service – where businesses are introduced to the tendering practices of these organisations and can engage with the people buying the services and products they sell.

Upcoming Activities (free for any business to attend):-
Tue 24 September: Harborough https://eventpilot.evolutive.co.uk/eventDetails.aspx?siteId=28&eventNo=1219822
Tue 8 October: Derby - Click here
Wed 9 October: South Nottinghamshire - Click here
Tue 19 November: North Nottinghamshire - Click here 

Context: in a recent survey of 280 Chamber members, 55% of respondents said they currently engage in some form of public sector procurement, many of whom are heavily-reliant upon it to generate revenue. That leaves a sobering 45% that do not engage, many of whom perceive the processes being too onerous, with others inhibited by a bad experience previously. 

Given that many public bodies are making efforts to ‘demystify’ these processes and reduce the time it takes to pitch for available contracts (with many being broken down into smaller ‘lots’ that represent lucrative opportunities), EMC is keen to help all parties by helping inform, clarify, and identify opportunities to enhance economic growth.

Objectives: The Chamber believes that more can be done within the public sector to improve SME accessibility, proportionality, consistency of experience, as well as opportunities that exist for innovation in delivery.

Firms need more support to identify relevant opportunities, ensure they are ‘fit for bidding’ in terms of having the relevant policies and accreditations, and then be able to create competitive bids.

Based on this, and a continued dialogue with public sector partners, a refocused approach to public sector procurement is being proposed that aims to support improvements on both the ‘demand’ and the ‘supply’ side of procurement.

In addition to supporting enhanced competitiveness through upskilling the private sector, it is essential that public sector partners continue to look at how they design and deliver their processes and opportunities in such a way that maximises an SME’s ability to bid competitively.

Next Steps:

  • East Midlands Chamber will continue to build upon the procurement support activity it already delivers – extending the programme of seminars outlined above.
  • The Chamber plans to create a packaged ‘SME Competitiveness’ programme, involving activities including leadership and management training, bid writing, policy development, risk management and strategic planning.
  • The Chamber will continue its lobbying efforts and relationships with partners and decision makers, having recently taken a delegation of EMC-members to Whitehall for a Ministerial discussion, allowing them to share their concerns and observations.
  • EMC will continue to challenge public sector partners at all levels to demonstrate how their current and developing procurement activity meets the principles requested by the business community.
  • EMC will work with partners to develop Meet the Buyer sessions to allow firms to benefit from outsourcing opportunities from the ambitious expansions plans of HS2 and Heathrow Airport, together with contracts arising from Birmingham’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
  • The Chamber will seek to optimise outcomes for enhanced social value through meaningful partnership with public bodies in their outsourcing strategies.