Supporting the Local Economy
SME's and VCO's can play an important role in helping deliver services to the local community by offering goods, services and works at better value for money than the larger competitors by:
Specialising - many small businesses survive by offering specialist products or services that larger suppliers find unattractive, for example because of limited demand.
Innovation - small businesses can bring innovation through, for example, the early exploitation of new technology, providing products or services in new or underdeveloped markets, or by using innovation to differentiate themselves from established market players.
Bringing greater competition to the market place - this helps drive costs down.
Lower Cost - administrative overheads and management costs are typically lower for smaller organisations which may result in lower prices.
Quality of Service - small businesses can often offer more personal levels of service.
Responsiveness - shorter management chains and approval routes allow a quicker response to changing requirements.
Flexibility - small businesses are normally more willing to tailor a product or service to meet the customer's needs than a large firm that sells an established offering.
The Authority recognises that there are many barriers facing SME's / VCO's when endeavouring to win business with local authorities, and hopefully this guidance will help to reduce some of these.
The Council strives to pursue positive action in relation to the regeneration impact of procurement decisions without being anti-competitive, and a number of steps have been taken to help us in this respect:
- Developing the Council's website to provide information on how to sell to, and contract with the Council.
- The Council has signed up to the national Small Business (SME) Friendly Concordat, which provides a series of commitments that aim to increase the local regeneration impacts of procurement decisions.
- The introduction of a page on the Council's website advertising all current tender opportunities.
- Fostering strong links with local business organisations such as the North Norfolk Business Forum and Business Link.
- The Council uses the Contracts Finder website portal to advertise all tender opportunities, which is a dynamic new government-backed service designed specifically to give companies easy access to lower-value contract opportunities (typically worth under £100,000) offered by the public sector.
- The Council also offers advice and guidance on grants and funding opportunities available to businesses to support local economic development.
- The Council has been working to develop Pre Qualification Questionnaires (PQQ's) that are designed specifically to try and reduce the amount of information and documentation that is traditionally requested at the 'pre-tender' stage, thereby reducing the time and cost to suppliers.
The Council employs a philosophy of continuous improvement and we are always happy to hear your views on how we could improve our procurement processes - we particularly welcome the views of current, past, unsuccessful and potential suppliers.