More government work to be opened up to SMEs

Small and medium sized companies are set to benefit from changes in EU procurement by the end of this year according to the Cabinet Office.

A revised package of EU Procurement Directives agreed by the European Parliament includes regulations that will benefit SMEs by encouraging public sector buyers to break large contracts into smaller lots. Turnover prequalification requirements will also be lowered to open up Government contracts to smaller businesses.

The UK, through the Cabinet Office and its minister Francis Maude, has been lobbying for the changes to make public procurement simpler and to support Government’s drive to place 25% of spending with SME’s by 2015.

Simpler processes in the new regulations could also save SME’s up to 60% of bidding costs according to European Commission through what it promises will be less red tape This includes only winning bidders being required to provide supporting paperwork and shorter timescales in which to respond to tenders.

“The EU regulations were last updated in 2004 and this is bringing them into the modern world,” a Cabinet Office spokesman said.

“Member states have two years to transpose the directives by making national implementing regulations within two years from the date of EU adoption. But Cabinet Office is preparing ambitious plans for early transposition so that the UK can take advantage of the additional flexibilities in the new rules as soon as possible.

“We hope that will be by the end of this year.”

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