The public sector opportunity is vast for suppliers: an annual spend of some £290bn every year with the range of goods, works and services required varying wildly, from pencils to buildings.
This spending must be leveraged to play its part in the UK’s economic recovery. Procurement has a role to play in Government aims such as opening up public contracts to more small businesses and social enterprises, innovating in public service delivery, and meeting the net zero carbon target by 2050.
Data from our Tracker reports show us that the marketplace is very active with thousands of notices published every week, by a wide variety of public bodies. Health, local government, central government, and education authorities consistently publish high levels of notices, with just under half of these opportunities valued at less than £100,000 and ideally suited to SMEs.
With the publication of the ‘Levelling Up’ whitepaper, government has committed to billions of pounds worth of investment in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centre and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.
Meanwhile, commitments to investment in growing the health and education estates, and the drive to improve the green credentials of public sector buildings and hit net zero targets, will ensure a healthy supply of public sector contract opportunities for years to come.
Changes to procurement
Over the past two years, public procurement has had to adapt and change throughout the coronavirus, bringing on board organisations that had never supplied the sector before and using new routes of procurement.
The pandemic has reinforced how important it is for the public sector to work with suppliers that are innovative, reliable, and trustworthy.
In mid-December 2020, as the end of the Transition period for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union drew nearer, the UK Government launched an online consultation on its Public Procurement Green Paper ‘Transforming Public Procurement’, which sought to overhaul the processes that lay at the heart of procurement.
Primarily focusing on contracting authorities in England, the Green Paper puts forward a series of proposals designed to simplify and speed up procurement, whilst also improving opportunities for SMEs and placing value for money at its core.
Government response to the Green Paper will see a new set of rules put in place that aim to simplify the process of bidding for public work and encourage more suppliers and SMEs into the sector.
Early Engagement is key
The public sector is always looking to improve its service delivery and identify new, innovative suppliers to ensure the public is getting the best procurement deal, one of the best tools for buyers to use is early engagement.
To develop innovation and best outcomes from contracts, ‘Early Engagement’ is seen as key; providing transparency of contracting authorities’ procurement pipelines and processes to suppliers and introducing buyer’s needs to get potential suppliers involved sooner.
‘Early Engagement’ benefits both buyers and suppliers; allowing buyers to take advantage of the latest innovations and technologies and having solutions ‘built in’ to their supply chain, while suppliers have better knowledge of requirements, can plan business activities and ultimately write better bids.
According to the Cabinet Office, it helps “promote forthcoming procurement opportunities and provide a forum to discuss delivery challenges and risks associated with the project”. ‘Early Engagement’ is in the UK Government’s best interests and they want to hear from innovative, reliable and trustworthy suppliers.
How Tracker can help
Our Tracker tool has over 20 years of contract notice history and the details of thousands of current and prior framework notices, buyer spend, market leads and sector-specific news, creating actionable insights for you to engage at the earliest opportunity.
If you are seeking to improve your tenders and find these new opportunities, business intelligence is key. Tracker can not only help provide you with tender opportunities and knowledge of future pipelines, but also help you engage with the buyers and position your company as a solution provider.