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May 14, 2014

Government readies public sector for easier SMB bidding

Cabinet Office warns public sector of SMB treatment ahead of EU legislation.

By Joe Curtis

A government minister has issued a warning to Britain’s public sector that impending EU legislation is set to help SMBs bid more easily for more contracts.

The European Parliament’s procurement laws must be adopted by all EU member states by the start of 2016, but the UK aims to adopt them later this year to help the government reach an SMB procurement target of for 25% of all of its outsourced services.

The new rules encompass measures such as the ability to break larger contracts down into smaller chunks, as well as letting firms bid on contracts worth up to half of their annual revenue.

Computer Weekly quoted Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude at Tuesday’s Public Sector Show saying: "Change is coming – be ready for it, because we need to deal with it when it happens.

"There’s nothing stopping the public sector adopting these changes straight away."

He also admitted that parts of the public sector have been "oblivious" to SMB needs, such as prompt payments for services, which smaller companies rely on even if the sum of money involved appears negligible by government standards.

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Maude also vowed the government would ensure the public sector’s attitude to SMBs improves as it prepares for G-Cloud 5 to go live on May 22.

The news comes after UK government spending on cloud computing was predicted to substantially surpass that of industries including pharmaceuticals, finance, manufacturing and insurance over the next four years.

Research firm Kable pegged the public sector’s year-on-year growth in cloud spending up to 2018 averaging out at 35.6% year-on-year, 4.5% higher than the aforementioned industries.

CBR has contacted the Cabinet Office for comment.

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