The UK’s Cabinet Office is to put a potential £50bn worth of Government contracts online, with the aim of encouraging more British firms to bid for lucrative public sector contracts.
The Government claims the website is expected to reduce red tape, and flag up potential opportunities with companies earlier. The contracts on offer will cover sectors such as ICT and facilities management.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who is heading up the project, claims the site will make it 40% faster to do business with government, so that complex procurement processes will now be completed within 120 days from January 2012, compared to the average 200 days at present.
The site, set to launch in January 2012, aims to stimulate growth by ending Whitehall’s often “short-sighted and risk averse approach” to awarding major deals for state goods and services.
Government will have an “open door” policy with suppliers to discuss future contracts, and departments will be encouraged to break up some major contracts to make it easier for small and medium sized enterprises to bid for the work.
All but the most complex procurement processes must be finished within four months from January next year, compared to an average of more than seven months now.
Francis Maude said: “We need to make things better for business in the UK – the current system isn’t working. UK-based suppliers are finding themselves excluded, opportunities for growth are missed due to the public sector’s timidity and carrying out a procurement in the UK costs over twice as much as in France. This is wrong from every point of view.
“While other countries manage to settle down and develop long-term relationships with business – this country appears to have taken a rather less successful overly formal and legalistic approach, failing to think beyond the immediate contract and failing to adequately support our businesses. We look forward to working with businesses on our new approach.”