Earlier this week Ministry of Justice published its SME Action Plan 2018-2022. In the plan the MoJ reaffirms its commitment to support SMEs in procurement and the supply chain. Although following analysis of 2018/19 they expect that SME spend figures will decrease following previous years’ performance it is encouraging to see clear steps they intend to take to get figures back up.
In their plan they cover five key areas: engagement, supplier management, pre-procurement, procurement and contract management. In the next four years MoJ intends to improve engagement with SMEs and industry bodies to help MoJ understand issues SMEs face, while on the same time educating the market on their procurement practices.
The plan also commits the department to communicate better the opportunities and benefits of working with Ministry of Justice and engage with SMEs at the pre-procurement stage. This is a particularly welcomed step as lack of engagement at this stage has been highlighted in our 2017 SME Survey. MoJ is also intending to review their procurement strategy continuously to ensure it supports SME agenda and look into improving contract tenders including simplifying terms and conditions.
techUK SME Agenda
techUK welcomes positive changes in SME procurement across Whitehall. Our Deputy CEO Antony Walker has recently appeared in front of Science and Technology Committee and reiterated the importance of a diverse supplier base and benefits of working with SMEs. The key finding of 2017 SME Survey included lack of early engagement and lack of civil servants understanding of SME needs. Therefore, it is particularly encouraging to see Ministry of Justice addressing key concerns highlighted in the survey and giving a commitment to working with industry to improve SME access.
In 2019 we will continue working with Cabinet Office and government departments on a range of activities to improve access the public sector tech market, including a series of market engagement events to help SMEs gain business with government. We look forward to working together with MoJ in supporting their SME agenda.
If you like to read a full report please see here.