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    Essential services to help keep your school running smoothly.

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    Everything you need for your school meals and catering requirements.

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To provide current perspective, expertise and guidance on the role of procurement in meeting net zero targets, public sector buying organisation YPO and local public sector innovation partnership iNetwork have come together again to host a series of free online webinars. Watch the series here.
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  • Construction worker Buildings and Construction

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  • Meeting Corporate and Financial Services

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  • Cleaning equipment Facilities and Waste Management

    Providing safe and cost effective working environments.

  • Fleet of white vans Fleet

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  • food and catering worker cooking Food and Catering

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    Create environments that are tailored to your unique needs.

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During the session, we asked providers whether they had taken part in public sector competitions, and a whopping 80% of respondents said that they had considered taking part but had decided not to. This is shocking but not altogether a surprise. We know from talking to providers that the process of procurement can be complex, challenging and time-consuming, and it’s certainly something the Government are trying to address through the reform.

Some of the key messages in the Procurement bill are around speeding up and simplifying the procurement process, creating flexibility in the approach as well as opening up opportunities for smaller providers, charities and social enterprises. This should be welcome news to providers, especially those who have previously considered taking part but have chosen not to.

But what will the reality look like?

Recently released statistics suggest that there is around £20bn[1] spend going to small to medium enterprises (both directly and indirectly) from a market worth around £290bn[2]. That equates to roughly 7%, so it’s clear that the aspiration to increase accessibility and inclusivity for smaller providers and the voluntary sector is much needed.

There are some developments that we talked through in the webinar that means there is reason to be positive for providers of all sizes and from all sectors.

Firstly, the National Procurement Policy Statement has stated that all Contracting Authorities should publish a forward-looking pipeline. This forward look at opportunities should be a minimum of 18 months, but ideally, be looking 5 years out. These are currently being published on contracting authority websites and should hopefully support providers planning processes.

There is talk of a centralised digital platform to keep information in one place. This will include commercial tools, contract performance data, the proposed central debarment list and a central register of suppliers. This last point means that you should be able to join the register once you have qualified, and this should negate the need to fill out routine data in every procurement. This could be transformational if and when it comes to fruition, and we are waiting for updates from the Cabinet Office on this.

In the green paper consultation document in relation to the open contracting data standard, it was proposed that the public sector should publish winning tenders. Subject to redaction for commercial sensitivity, of course, but nonetheless, the winning bid would be published. This has been dropped from the Bill and replaced with publishing evaluation notes instead. If done well, this may be able to potentially form the basis for “model answers,” which will be helpful for providers, especially those who have not been successful and would like to understand how to improve for future opportunities. This would, of course, be subject to the appropriate redaction also.

And finally, more supply chain transparency for fair payments. Implied terms will mean that suppliers in the supply chain (sub-contractors) will need to be paid within 30 days as well as tier one supplier’s being paid by contracting authorities within 30 days.

With all the above, of course, the Bill is not yet law, and so there may be more changes to come in the fullness of time, but for now, there is certainly reason for some cautious optimism that provider focus is very much on the agenda as part of the reform.

As the draft bill moves through Parliament, we will be keeping a close eye on developments, and changes and will look to host future sessions around the reform to help keep you up to date and informed.

For those who did not attend the webinar in May, you can view the full recording here.