Calling all SMEs

The committee set-up to tackle the problem of small and medium-sized UK enterprises (SMEs) failing to secure public sector contracts has called on businesses, public purchasers and industry groups to submit evidence of their experiences of doing business across both central government and local authorities.

A webpage has been set-up by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), the government body charged with improving government procurement across all government departments. The closing date for submissions in August 8th.

At, contributors are asked to share their stories so the committee, headed by veteran VC and CEO of Amadeus Capital Partners, can address such issues as improved tendering procedures, better information for SMEs and reducing the barriers SMEs may face when competing for public sector contracts.

The committee, announced as part of the Enterprise Strategy and Budget 2008, is considering ways to increase opportunities for SMEs, in particular whether it is possible for 30% of public sector contracts to be won by such companies. UK Chancellor Alastair Darling stated aim is for 30% of all public procurement to come from SMEs by 2013.

Glover said: “SMEs play a vital role in the UK’s economy and it is important that we make it as easy as possible for them to participate in public sector procurement. An order is more valuable than a grant to an SME because it holds the promise of future business.

“The public sector spends around £160bn a year on goods and services, and SMEs offer the opportunity to contribute both innovation and value for money to the Government’s agenda to deliver world class public services.”

The Glover Committee will use the EU definition of an SME (Recommendation 2003/361/EC), which stipulates a headcount of less than 250 and a maximum annual turnover of £40m.