Identifying opportunities for small and medium enterprises
Procurement Lincolnshire has adopted a new practice of indicating contracts which are thought to be particularly suitable for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
This practice is a result of the Glover Review. One of the recommendations made by the report was that public sector should indicate or “flag” during the advertising process the contracts particularly appropriate for SMEs.
The following aspects give an indication whether contract may be of particular interest to SMEs and where flagging is suitable.
|SME positive||SME negative|
|Strong SME market presence||↔||Weak SME market presence|
|Low contract value/volume||↔||High contract value/volume|
|Innovation required||↔||Routine required|
|Tailored product/service||↔||Standardised product/service|
|Local delivery||↔||National delivery|
|Limited scale economies||↔||Major scale economies|
|Unregulated market||↔||Regulated market|
Once public sector organisation identified that a contract is suitable for SME they should indicate this in the contract notice or any other advertising. Below is the suggested wording for Official Journal of European Union (OJEU) advertisement.
“The contracting authority considers that this contract may be suitable for economic operators that are small or medium enterprises (SMEs). For avoidance of doubt , the contracting authority points out that no weigh will be attached to whether or not an economic operator is an SME in selecting economic operators to [submit tenders, participate in dialogue or negotiate*] or in assessing the most economically advantageous tender.”
*Select whichever is appropriate
Suggested wording for other non-OJEU advertisements:
“The contracting authority considers that this contract may be suitable for economic operators that are small or medium enterprises (SMEs). However, any selection of tenderers will be based solely on the criteria set out for the procurement, and the contract will be awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender.”
Flagging is a part of wider initiative where the Government has recognised the need to better support SMEs during procurement process and make it easier for them to supply to public sector.
Procurement Lincolnshire encourages usage of SMEs flagging as an example of good practice.