Bristol City Council is taking measures to make it easier for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the chance to bid for its allocated £25 million annual IT spend.
On 4 September, the council will host an event where suppliers from the city’s "digital sector" will be briefed on opportunities including work on the government’s cloud procurement framework, G-Cloud.
Also up for grabs are contracts under the council’s Workplace programme, which focuses on consolidating its offices and using technology to improve public services. Natural England, the government’s advisor on the natural environment, will also offer procurement opportunities.
In order to make contracts more accessible to small businesses, the council will adopt a more “flexible approach” to procurement, with smaller packages of work being procured for shorter periods of time.
Cllr Jon Rogers, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Bristol has a thriving digital sector with many small and medium sized companies. But traditionally the SME sector has faced too many obstacles to winning work from the public sector.”
“The government has recognised the need to change this policy and we support this move wholeheartedly. Our aim is that within a few years, more than a quarter of our annual spend on ICT is directed towards SMEs, and I hope Bristol firms will be in a position to gain from this,” he said.
Last year the government awarded Leeds-based CDS the opportunity to build its new IT asset and service knowledge base. By doing so, the Cabinet Office emphasised its commitment to making it easier for SMEs to win government IT contracts.