Bath & North East Somerset Council is committed to assisting local Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The Council has declared its support for the Small Business Friendly Concordat by becoming a signatory authority and pledging to actively engage with small businesses. The Concordat is a voluntary, non-statutory code of practice which aims to encourage a mixed range of suppliers in order to help develop and stimulate a varied and competitive marketplace.
Small businesses can offer real benefits to Local Authorities including:
- Quick and flexible response to authority needs
- As a source of innovation, ideas and products
- Often they are in close proximity to the authority
- Able to offer cash savings, improved quality, service and effectiveness
- Some, like social enterprises and those operating in the voluntary and community sector, may have better access to hard to reach customer groups.
- They may attach more importance to doing business with a local authority
Small businesses are often locally based and any assistance given to them can also bring benefits to the local community. The same holds true for many social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations and Black and Ethnic Minority Enterprises.
However it is not intended that smaller suppliers should be given a competitive advantage when tendering for local government contracts due to the Concordat, and there are steps we can take to ensure that suppliers of all kinds are treated equally. Under the Local Government Act 2000, councils are required to prepare a ‘Community Strategy’ and have powers to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their communities. Provided there is compliance with the Authority’s Contract Standing Orders, Financial Regulations and EU Public Procurement Regulations councils can work with suppliers to realise ‘community benefits’ of this kind through their procurement activities.
You may have to complete a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) in order to be considered for Council contracts.
The West of England Partners in Procurement group has produced guidance on creating Equal Opportunities, Environmental and Health & Safety policies, which are often required for PQQ's or later on as part of tender submissions. Please see the Partners In Procurement – Help for Businesses page.
Winning the Contract is a free on-line procurement course by learndirect, which helps organisations, and in particular SMEs, learn about public procurement and how to bid for public sector contracts.
The course introduces organisations to the key procurement processes, including:
- Identifying the advantages and disadvantages of dealing with public bodies
- Understanding how different types of contracts are defined, advertised and dealt with
- Understanding approved supplier lists and framework agreements
- Identifying the key stages in the tendering process
- Searching for and finding public sector opportunities