How much could your business save?Find out now!
Or, you can call us on:0800 411 8830

Government gains: SME guide to public sector contract pitching


Smaller businesses are being urged to compete for their share of the Government’s outsourcing budget. How can SMEs get a piece of the public sector pie?

Ministers have recently revealed that they want to increase the number of contracts that are awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so they receive a third of overall spending: this would mean more than £14.4 billion a year of business for such companies.

Tendering

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock says that the Government has made changes to its procurement rules so that it’s easier for small firms to bid for public-sector contracts. These include ensuring that all businesses in the supply chain are paid within 30 days, publishing details of contracts on a central online database, and simplifying the bidding process by abolishing time-consuming ‘pre-qualification questionnaires’ in many cases.

“This is such an amazing opportunity for the country’s diverse and innovative small businesses, and today I urge them to get stuck in,” Hancock says. “From computers to uniforms – there are so many opportunities for small businesses to work with us, and I want to see more of them providing value for money for the taxpayer and benefiting from our spending.”

So, how do you go about bidding for government business – and what potential pitfalls are there to look out for?

  1. Contracts finder

The first step should be to consult the Contract Finders database. It provides information about deals worth £10,000 or more. You can search for opportunities by sector, as well as look at upcoming work and details of previous tenders.

By signing up, you can opt to receive email updates of potentially relevant contracts so you don’t miss out on potential business. Contract Finders only covers work in England. Elsewhere in the UK, consult Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eSourcing NI.

  1. Tenders direct

Many local authorities and public-sector organisations keep lists of possible suppliers for different types of work – and this is especially the case when it comes to low-value contracts. It could be worth getting in touch directly with any organisation you think you could help.

  1. Invitation to tender

The government has made it simpler to bid for work but nonetheless, the tender process will take some time and effort on your part. This means you have to choose what you bid for carefully so you have a chance of winning and don’t waste your time.

  1. Blow your own trumpet

In the application process, the organisation you’re dealing with will want to hear why your company is their best option. You need to be able to explain why they should pick you. As a small business, you are likely to be cheaper and more flexible than larger rivals, so focus on strengths such as these and provide evidence for any claims you make.

According to the Cabinet Office, the government is looking for SMEs to provide innovative solutions, so if you have an idea of how services or goods could be provided more efficiently, speak up.

  1. Seek feedback

Whether you’re successful or not, be sure to ask for feedback about your application: this will give you extra insight to help with any future bids.

Related Articles

the week's energy news

Energy News 17/02/2017

Want to know what’s big in the world of energy this week? Check out our roundup of the big stories from the ...

Read More
biographies to read in 2017

12 books about real life entrepreneurs to read in 2017

2017 may have just begun, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t plan our year of business reading.   Be...

Read More
Pub - what businesses will lose out due to the business rate refresh?

Who are the winners and losers of the business rate changes?

The latest change in business rates is causing controversy across the country, with many claiming they will b...

Read More
Excellent, 9.7 / 10

Thanks for your help Mark Weeks and Switch My business

"I would like to thank Switch My Business and particularly Mark Weeks for the ease of switching and saving me money! I can highly recommend them. Thanks again Richard Blake"

This review was posted by Richard Blake on the 22nd of February 2017

Aaron Gallagher

"Aaron sorted out a new electricity deal for my church, enabling us to make good savings. We have now received confirmation of our new 3 year plan.During our telephone conversations Aaron was always very polite and efficient. Dawn Marskell"

This review was posted by Dawn Marskell on the 21st of February 2017

Great help switching

"First time I have ever done an energy supplier switch, it seemed a bit daunting but the way EDF has rocketed our industrial energy bill I had no option, Bea Luseni guided me through the process and took all the worry away, many thanks well done"

This review was posted by Horatio on the 17th of February 2017

Very knowledgeable and helpfull guys

"I had Mark Weeks help me to switch from N Power to Dual for my business electricity and he was fantastic. not one question/query that he couldn't answer which made the switch very easy. So glad I have done this and thanks again Mark."

This review was posted by Colin McKirdy on the 16th of February 2017

1st Class service from Kabibi Luseni

"From Start To Finish very easy to Move Suppliers . That's why I Now use SMB . Allan Wright"

This review was posted by Mr Allan Wright on the 16th of February 2017