The government has announced a package of new measures designed to level the playing field for smaller businesses bidding to win government contracts.
Proposals including excluding suppliers from major government procurements if they cannot demonstrate fair and effective payment practices with their subcontractors.
Other plans include allowing subcontractors to have greater access to buying authorities to report poor payment performance, aiming to improve payment practice in the UK.
Suppliers will have to advertise subcontracting opportunities via the Contracts Finder website, and to provide the government with data showing how businesses in their supply chain, including small businesses, are benefiting from supplying to central government.
A minister-level Small Business Champion will be nominated in each government department to try to ensure that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are given a fair opportunity.
In the most recent figures from 2015/16, government spent £5.6 billion directly with small businesses. When sub-contracts to small businesses from larger suppliers was taken into account, total spend rose to £12.2 billion.
Emma Jones, the Government’s Crown Representative for Small Business, said: “Securing a government contract is a great way for small firms to bring in a steady income stream that can really help their business to grow. These measures demonstrate the government’s clear commitment to small business, ensuring they can easily find and access new opportunities to supply to government.”