On 3 June 2011 the Cabinet Office announced further measures to make government procurement more efficient and to open it up to small businesses. One central team, Government Procurement, will be responsible for contracting for widely used goods and services for the whole of government. This will enable the government to utilise its scale and buying power. Goods and services to be procured centrally initially include energy, fleet, information and communications technology, office solutions, print and print management, professional services and travel.
In addition, the Cabinet Office has published SME Action Plans2 for each government department. These build on the government’s work to open government procurement to small businesses and set out how each department will seek to achieve the government’s overall aim of awarding 25% of contracts to SMEs. Departmental actions range from breaking large contracts into smaller lots, working with major suppliers to increase SME access to sub-contracting opportunities, increasing the amount of information that is available to SMEs about contract opportunities, holding Product Surgeries for SMEs to pitch innovative ideas and piloting new procurement methods that are more open to SMEs.