Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has published its first SME action plan, which will now be “levelling the playing field” for SMEs
The new plan lays out guidelines for how CCS is meeting the general intent of UK Government to level the playing field for SMEs.
This follows the updated ‘Selling to Government Guide’ in December, 2021, giving SMEs essential information.
Richard Denney, Director of the Corporate Pillar at CCS, said: “At the time of publishing this action plan, our country is in the midst of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and most sectors of the UK economy are suffering badly.
“Economic revival continues to be crucial to the prosperity of our nations, and SMEs will play a huge role in this.”
Some of the new guidelines include:
- A target of Government paying 90% of invoices within 5 days and all within 30 days
- All opportunities over £10,000 being published on Contracts Finder
- Any supplier bidding for a CG contract over £5 million a year need to demonstrate it has effective payment systems in place to ensure a reliable supply chain
Three-quarters of CCS agreements are SMEs
Right now, only three-quarters of CCS commercial agreements are SMEs – yet they receive just roughly 13% of total spend directly. While many are subject to ‘indirect’ spend, via larger suppliers using them as subcontractors, the direct spend is still the question of the moment.
Compared to 2019/20, direct spend with SMEs through CCS agreements did significantly increase by £392 million in 2020/21 – reaching £2.5 billion in total.
“Levelling the playing field” will increase economic and social benefits
Richard Denney further said: “SMEs bring diversity and innovation to our supply chains, and levelling the playing field for businesses of all sizes will bring economic and social benefits and support the UK to build back better and fairer.
“Our action plan sets out the work we’re doing to ensure we’re continuously creating those opportunities, supporting our customers to boost the value delivered through their procurement.”
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