The Department for Children Schools and Families' commercial policy is based around the EU treaty principles of transparency, equal treatment, non-discrimination and proportionality for all its dealings with third parties.
Consequently the Department has a good record for awarding contracts and grants to SMEs as they have an equal opportunity to gain the Department's work as any other organisation.
The Department has already implemented a number of the 12 recommendations given in the Glover Report ('Accelerating the SME economic engine: through transparent, simple and strategic procurement').
We utilise Supply2gov for our sub EU threshold requirements as well as for advertising competitive grants. Over EU threshold requirements are advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) which is available online.
To allow for electronic tendering the DCSF has licenses to the BRAVO system. The majority offenders are already issued electronically, and request electronic bids. Currently a paper version is still requested rather than encrypted electronic versions.
It is a requirement for procurements subject to the Public Contract Regulations to have contract award notices published. However DCSF do not currently publish sub-threshold award notices as a matter of course though bidders are advised of the organisation the contract has been awarded to.
All our procurements are open to all organisations in line with EU treaty principles.
Our policy is to evaluate all experience quoted by an organisation, against the same criteria.
Any request for standards or certificates also specifies that equivalents are acceptable.
Our innovation procurement plan will be published at the end of July 2009. Our commercial policy encourages innovative procurements through advertising and output based specifications.
We use output based specifications on the majority of our procurements.
We encourage prime contractors to subcontract to SME's and supported businesses. However currently it is not mandatory for prime contractors to advertise on Supply2gov or elsewhere.
Our terms and conditions include requirements for reciprocal contract terms for subcontractors.
We do not currently have the facilities to separate out and measure SME spend. However it is expected that the Ml from the new RM system due for implementation in November 2009 will provide this information.