Agencies embrace move to help SMEs

Public sector agencies have cautiously welcomed government measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises, including PR agencies bidding for new business.

'Culture shift': Nick Mustoe
'Culture shift': Nick Mustoe

The Government has launched measures such as introducing a new Contracts Finder website, which eliminates the need for agencies to re-enter their details each time they pitch. Pre-qualification questions for contracts under £100,000 will also be removed.

Kindred MD Nick Mustoe welcomed the move, but he called for a 'culture shift' in the civil service as well. He said: 'Civil servants should be encouraged to opt for more dynamic and innovative suppliers, which are often smaller or independent businesses.'

Band & Brown managing partner Simon Francis added: 'For too long, central and local government procurement has been awash with different public sector organisations asking for the same information time and time again. Anything that cuts bureaucracy and enables sharing of this data can only be a good thing.'

However, Francis warned that opening up procurement could lead to civil servants having to 'wade through even more bids for each tender. And, with reduced staff, they may find they fall into a policy of picking either the cheapest provider or names they already know due to the pressures of time.'

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