Advice Cloud: Twelve tips for SME suppliers approaching Local Government

Guest blog by Joe Fuller, Content and Community Lead at Advice Cloud, following the SME Networking Session on local government.

techUK recently hosted an SME Networking Session on Local Government. One of the attendees – Joe Fuller (Content & Community Lead at Advice Cloud) – has written a guest blog for us, outlining twelve tips for suppliers approaching Local Government, gleaned from his notes on the event.

  1. Before approaching Local Authorities (LAs), it’s a good idea to look at councils’ digital strategies.
  2. Language is important: suppliers might want to avoid terminology such as ‘citizens’, since that term excludes refugees.
  3. Every council is skint: they need innovation (but not just chatbots and AI).
  4. The best emails aren’t ‘hard sell’: it’s about getting to know people first.
  5. Local Government is a very human sector: please be patient and empathetic, because the people you are approaching are often busy helping distressed members of the public. 
  6. Research particular demographic needs in an LA, including potential language barriers, health concerns, etc.
  7. Expertise in a particular sector is valued, such as housing inclusion, healthcare, etc.
  8. The LA sector is proud and communicative: don’t piss people off, because shoddy suppliers will likely be named and shamed on LA WhatsApp groups.
  9. Find the spend on a contract the last time around, to get an idea of how much work might be expected on the project. Buyers might be wary if the price quoted is too low.
  10. Read assessment criteria carefully – ensuring that you fully understand what it all means – before bidding.
  11. Think about timing: it might not be worth speaking to a buyer shortly after they’ve just signed a contract for five years, for example.
  12. Look at whether or not the contract went to an SME before: this might make it more likely to go to an SME again.

Advice Cloud is a market leader in helping technology companies navigate frameworks often used by the UK Government, such as Digital Outcomes & Specialists and G-Cloud. Since 2013, the public sector procurement experts have helped ~400 tech companies (70-75% SMEs) to understand how to work with the public sector. 

This blog is based on a recent SME Networking Session on local government. You can watch the previous session here (members only). 

The next local public services event will be an industry briefing with Lambeth Council on 6 September, which you can book on the following link. For future SME events, visit the SME Connect events page or alternatively contact our Head of SME Engagement, Ed Bevan by email at: [email protected]

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