The Cabinet Office has today revealed new instances of public bodies and authorities in Cheshire which businesses feel have treated them unfairly by not paying-up on time, not giving them a chance to bid for work or using unnecessary bureaucracy in the tendering process.
The cases have been published as part of the Cabinet Office's SME Mystery Shopper scheme, which allows the Cabinet Office to investigate public sector procurement issues on behalf of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and recommend improvements to the procurement process. The results of these investigations are then published online to promote best practice across the whole public sector.
Examples of investigations in Cheshire are:
Warrington and Halton Hospital
A supplier was concerned about the complexity of the hospital’s Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) for a digital archiving contract. Cabinet Office examined the PQQ and recommended the hospital make use of the model questions used by Cabinet Office instead. The hospital is now considering how to incorporate it in a review of existing processes.
Halton Borough Council
A supplier was concerned that the specifications for National Cycle Training in the council’s bidding process did not include organisations with Bikeability Training Status. After Cabinet Office intervened, Halton Council took account of the feedback and decided to re-run the process to ensure that Bikeability providers could also bid. The council also made clear that its low value contracts are widely advertised through The Chest procurement portal https://www.the-chest.org.uk
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said: “SMEs are crucial to the future of this country and to building a more diverse and rigorous economy.
“Mystery Shopper lets us find out about procurement problems and the cases published today show that our actions are having real results for businesses out there.”
Nationally there are 67 cases published today covering a wide range of procurement issues. In total, the service has now received 238 cases, of which 193 have been closed with 81% of them resulting in a positive outcome – for example a current or planned procurement was changed, or the supplier gained a better understanding of the procurement process. The majority of cases received so far relate to wider public sector procurement.
Mystery Shopper uses the feedback from SMEs to promote the best practice across the whole public sector. SMEs are encouraged to use the service wherever they feel that there is an issue that disadvantages smaller players or best practice is not being followed.
Notes to Editors
Notes to editors
1. SMEs can access the supplier feedback service at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/form/mystery-shopper-feedback-form
2. PQQs for tenders under £100,000 have already been abolished by all but two departments (remaining only in the most complex or sensitive areas) and contracts are published on the searchable Contracts Finder website.
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