The ARC welcomes the government's initiative
The Association of Recruitment Consultancies ("ARC") welcomes the government's initiative to open public sector tenders to SME businesses.
The launch of the new online tool, "Contract Finder", for viewing public sector contract opportunities matched by the government's stated resolve to eliminate pre qualification requirements and simplify procurement process, represents a significant step forward, say Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the ARC.
Commenting on the announcement made by the Prime Minister last Friday, Mr. Marlowe said "For many years the tender process has been biased towards big business, ruling out smaller organisations on grounds, for example, that they do not have sufficient throughput. Yet it is often smaller businesses that can provide access to the best talent and greatest efficiencies in many respects."
This is particularly the case in respect of recruitment, argues the ARC. "Smaller businesses, even when cooperating together to win a bid, are simply ruled out because the focus of the process is towards larger operators. In some cases I understand they are not allowed to bid at all, yet some of the large player winners simply sub contract parts out to the very same smaller businesses who would like to bid."
However Mr. Marlowe questioned the limit suggested by Mr. Cameron "Whilst we welcome this very positive step, it is not clear why the government has set its ambition to 25% of all government contracts. Surely if the floor is truly opened up to achieve maximum competition and innovation, then SME's should be given a chance to bid for all contracts."
The ARC also urges the government to provide a regular and transparent monitor together with the necessary long term support to ensure that the initiative produces the results that are hoped for.