The government has announced its intention to introduce proposals to level the playing field so that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can more easily access government contracts. The proposals demonstrate the government's commitment to improving UK payment practices and include plans to:
- "exclude suppliers from major government procurements if they cannot demonstrate fair and effective payment practices with their subcontractors";
- allow subcontractors greater access to buying authorities so that they can report poor payment practices;
- make public procurement more transparent;
- introduce requirements for suppliers to advertise sub-contracting opportunities on the Contracts Finder Website and supply data to the government on how businesses in their supply chain (including SMEs) are benefitting from supplying to central government;
- make it easier for SMEs to supply goods and services to the public sector;
- ensure 33% of procurement spend is with SMEs by 2022; and
- ensure each government department has a Small Business Champion so that SMEs are given a fair opportunity.