Government going back on SME guarantee

Monday September 19th, 2011

The ‘New Suppliers to Government’ working group has claimed that the Government is holding back on buying more services from SMEs, including promised IT contracts.

After an initial meeting with the Cabinet Office, the working group, tasked with encouraging more SMEs to do business with the public sector, said that the Government had become less forceful in its commitment.

At the end of last year, the Government told its key suppliers that government contracts would be opened up to smaller suppliers, in an effort to end the era of ‘mega IT contracts’. The working group, led by open source software specialist Sirius’s CEO Mark Taylor, is one of three groups that were set up to help the Government realise its ambitions.

To add to the issue, the day before the working group’s meeting with the Cabinet Office, Stephen Allott, the Cabinet Office’s Crown Commercial Representative for SMEs since February, said that it will take two years before the Government stops excluding SMEs from procurements.

Mr Taylor said: “This is simply not acceptable. All of the evidence is that it’s going backwards. There are SMEs being taken out of procurement, not put into it.”

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