Will new government continue to commit to SMEs?
Public Sector Richard Blanford, managing director of managed cloud provider Fordway, looks at how the public sector is slowly opening up to SMEs.
Government commitment to increased buying from SMEs through frameworks such as G-Cloud has made significant progress. It met the 2013-14 target of awarding 25% of IT spend to SMEs, although more than half was subcontracted via big suppliers, and the majority of projects were for central government. How about spending 25% directly with SMEs, who provide nearly 60% of all UK employment? We also offer agility, flexibility and innovation - all qualities the public sector wants, with associated cost savings.
New security accreditation processes have helped SME suppliers show they have the track record, skills and financial security to minimise both real and perceived risk. We are pleased to see more responsibility given to buyers to ask suppliers to prove their assertions about what they can deliver and the benefits of their approach rather than the historical focus solely on formal accreditations.
The good news is that public sector customers are very much open to new ideas, particularly those that are being driven to it by mandate. As an SME that has recently started to supply central government directly, the organisations we’re working with like our approach and we’re providing innovative new services as part of joint supply engagements with some of the UK’s largest IT suppliers. As their procurement colleagues realise that we’re meeting their needs, are helping them save money, are easy to deal with and responsive to their requirements, we look forward to greater SME engagement with Government.