Suffolk-based businesses are being encouraged to share their experiences of – and views on – bidding for public sector contracts.
If the public sector is taken to include not only local councils, the Police and health bodies, but also the University of Suffolk and local colleges, then total public sector spend within Suffolk in 2017 was estimated to be about £1.9 billion.
The Suffolk Growth Programme Board (SGPB), on behalf of the local public sector, is now undertaking work to understand both the buyer’s view – how public sector procurement currently operates, and the supplier’s view – the experiences of local businesses in bidding for public sector contracts.
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has been commissioned to undertake a survey of businesses across Suffolk as to their experiences of and attitudes to public sector procurement.
This role is aligned to the ambitions set out in the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce manifesto for business, specifically: “improving procurement opportunities so that all public sector partners better engage with local businesses in promoting and deciding upon contracts in their supply chains.”
Alongside this, an additional piece of research has begun to look at exactly how each of the public sector organisations run their procurement operations.
John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber’s chief executive, said “this is all about maximising the Suffolk pound. Many of the local SMEs I meet mention the difficulties they encounter in hearing about and successfully bidding for public sector contracts in the county.
“This survey gives them the chance to make their concerns and experiences clearly known and the insights from this research will help make the case as to how the public sector needs to open up its procurement processes, so that Suffolk’s business community – and hence the wider Suffolk community – can benefit.”
Stephen Baker, chair of the Suffolk Growth Programme Board, said “public sector organisations spend significant sums buying the good and services we need to provide for our communities. Where possible we want to buy local by supporting Suffolk businesses to grow and expand, while delivering value for money. We need businesses to help us achieve this ambition.”
Suffolk Chamber has already sent out the survey to its database and is working with other business organisations to send it onto their respective members and contacts.
Businesses can also access the survey via this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FNSB8YF
The deadline for completing the survey is 24 August 2018.