To help small businesses apply for public sector contracts, a new process has been introduced to make it easier for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in public tenders. Only the successful bidder is now required to submit all documentation to evidence that they qualify for a contract, making the public procurement process much simpler.
The number of public sector contracts being awarded to small businesses continues to rise. Having beaten its previous 25% target, the Government has now said that it wants 33% of all Government spending to go to small firms by 2020.
The European Public Procurement Document (ESPD) was adopted on 5th January 2016 to make it easier for SMEs to participate in public tenders.
Several key reforms have made it easier for small firms to bid for and win public sector contracts:
- Difficult pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) are no longer required for low-value contracts
- Bidding processes have been simplified with the European Public Procurement Document (ESPD) and only the successful bidder is required to submit all documentation
- All public sector contracts are published in one place (UK Contracts Finder); EU Contracts Finder
- Everyone in the supply chain has to comply with 30-day payment terms
- Large contracts are increasingly being split into smaller jobs to allow SMEs to bid
Established at European level as a universal template, it will be accepted by public buyers in all EU member states. This means that cross-border tendering should become easier.
From 26 January, bidders have started to use the ESPD to declare that none of the non-exclusion grounds apply to their company, and that their company meets the relevant selection criteria for a contract. Once the evaluation stages have taken place, only the successful bidder will be required to submit all documentation to evidence that it qualifies for the contract.
However, the new EU legislation does not require the exclusive use of electronic communication in public procurement processes until 18th October 2018. This means that until that date it is likely that bidders will be asked to print off and complete the form manually before submitting it electronically.
You can find more information here.
Seeking to win a public sector contract may be discouraging as it requires a competitive and strong tender submission. This takes preparation, planning and time. Tender specialists, Thornton & Lowe have a wealth of experience helping businesses to win public sector contracts.
With an 80% + success rate in tendering and a 90% + success rate for PQQ assessments, why not see if Thornton & Lowe can help. If you are looking for bid writing training or simply with support responding to a PQQ or tender then please contact us.