New Cabinet Office guidance identifies their top five tips for promoting economic growth through procurement; and highlights the five big mistakes that procurers should avoid.

So what are the “top tips” for growth? Here are the Cabinet Office’s suggestions:

  • Be clear about what you want, define success in outcome terms and consider the impact of policy requirements on business.
  • Signal demand early by publishing requirements pipelines on Contracts Finder and using a project specific PIN to alert the marketplace to opportunities.
  • Talk to the market early, well before formal procurement starts, and respond to industry’s ideas and reactions; make sure you have a meaningful dialogue with a diverse range of suppliers.
  • Be open to new ideas and make sure that small firms get a fair hearing throughout the process.
  • Use the Lean sourcing process to reduce time and cost.

And what are the “big mistakes” to avoid?

Focussing on how to avoid discriminating against small firms, the guidance suggests procurers should:

  • Avoid using extensive selection criteria through a PQQ: as this tends to prevent small firms from having their bids seen and their ideas evaluated.
  • Not assume that larger firms are better: take care not to discriminate unfairly against small businesses by setting selection criteria which only larger firms can satisfy.
  • Avoid large scale requirements and long contract durations: which favour only big multinational businesses and make it harder to take advantage of SME offerings. These also tend to carry high risk for both parties and have a poor track record of success.
  • Not rely solely on financial assessment criteria at the selection stage; use financial evaluation proportionately taking care not to discriminate against SMEs, mutuals and JVs.
  • Not insist on onerous or disproportionate insurance requirements.

The “Procurement for Growth” guidance can be accessed through the link. It forms part of a range of Government measures designed to stimulate economic growth and UK businesses and to support SMEs.