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    SME PREQUALIFICATION BURDEN TO BE EASED

    Government commits to making it easier to do business with the public sector

    The government is committed to ensuring small businesses can maximise opportunities through the public sector and aims to award a quarter of government contracts to SMEs. 

    Departments are expected to increase their rate of SME procurement each year. Action on Pre-Qual questionnaires is part of this programme to remove barriers that prevent small businesses accessing government contracts.

    From December 2010 a standardised Pre-Qualification Questionnaire will be introduced. It will be mandatory across central government. An industry-sponsored ‘Lean Study’ is currently examining how to speed up the procurement process and will report in December 2010.

    Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

    “We believe small businesses and social enterprises have a vital role to play in the growth of the UK economy and we are committed to making it easier for these organisations to compete for government business.

    Today’s package of measures announced by the Cabinet Office will help to remove the barriers many small businesses face and eliminate complexities and waste in the procurement process. They will also ensure we are on our way to hitting our aspiration that 25 per cent of government contracts go to small and medium enterprises

    Comment

    It is not clear how this move fits with the recent announcement regarding use of prequal questionnaire BS PAS 91. It appears there may be separate questionnaires for SMEs and Others.

    In addition, securing consistency across Local Authorities will be an even bigger challenge.

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