Small businesses losing battle for public sector work

Contracts finder website too complex to use say small businesses

Small businesses losing battle for public sector work

Small businesses are still struggling to win public sector contracts despite the Government's efforts to make it easier, with around two in five businesses tendering failing to secure any business.

Latest figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) www.fsb.org.uk 'Voice of Small Business' survey panel reveals 40 percent of small firms believe the tendering process for public sector contracts is too complex, while 37 percent think they are sidelined by public officials who believe bigger firms must be better.

The findings come despite the Government's launch of its Contracts Finder website designed to make it easier for small firms to find and bid for public sector work.

The survey of more than 2,700 FSB members showed that although one in seven firms had bid for a public sector contract in the last year, 41 per cent failed to secure any business from any of the bids they had submitted.

Of those firms that had won contracts, only a quarter (27%) said they had found the Contracts Finder website useful, with twice that number (55%) relying on personal contacts and referrals.

John Walker, National Chairman, of the FSB believes the Government needs to put more effort into encouraging small businesses to tender for public contracts and make serious changes to the current process. "While central government has raised its game, without a true culture change across the public sector as a whole the Government's initiatives will have little impact."