Public Sector Procurement
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has been working alongside Suffolk Growth Programme Board to improve procurement opportunities across Suffolk for local business.
Public sector procurement, the buying of goods and services by the public sector, is big business in the UK. The Government is seeking to ensure to that the public sector explores smarter ways of supporting their local economy and finding savings through better procurement processes and the delivery of social value so they can help more SME's and local businesses start-up and grow.
In 2018, public sector organisations in Suffolk spent a total of £1.88 billion with 57% of this spend within a Suffolk based business (by postcode). As part of this, Suffolk Growth Programme Board alongside Suffolk Chamber of Commerce have identified a need to increase the amount of money public sector organisations spend locally.
Following a survey of our members, it was identified that many businesses do not know about procurement opportunities, and nor do they know how to find out about contracts, let alone win work. As a result, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Suffolk Growth Programme Board has launched a series of workshops and a diagnostic tool to help local business win more work from the Suffolk public sector. The aim of this is to increase the competitiveness of firms and the amount of money spent locally by public sector bodies.
Across the winter period of 2018/19, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce hosted six-free procurement workshops for local businesses. These workshops offered businesses the chance to hear from local procurement experts, gain tips, hints and advice on how to find out about tenders, and how to be best placed in order to win work. The workshops also included a small group exercise which demonstrated key factors to remember when applying for a public sector contract. These events were extremely well attended and the feedback received was excellent, with many businesses citing the fact that they will now actively look out, and apply for public sector contracts.
Due to the success of these workshops, we held six more procurement training workshops across the 2019/20 winter period.
If you were unable to attend a workshop, a slide pack can be found here.
We have also uploaded a model response, which highlights what a good tender response looks like - please note this is the example used at the workshops, but it should provide an overview of how to structure a successful bid.
To aid businesses in the long-term, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has also launched a diagnostic tool which allows businesses to find out how they can win work from the public sector. Further information and the tool itself can be found here.