I recently read this article on the FM World website and would like to share a few of my thoughts: http://www.fm-world.co.uk/news/fm-industry-news/government-clearly-failing-to-manage-contracts/

The contracting out of public contracts is a closed shop to most private companies and to practically all SMEs.  In light of the fact that the small number of companies that do win these public contracts seem to make such a mess of them, then surely it’s time for a change.

We are told that the NHS has been instructed to use smaller, local companies and this does appear to be the case, as we have seen an increase in the number of advertised tender opportunities.  However, being included in the tender process is no guarantee of winning work.  How can local businesses be sure that the same old contractors aren’t being selected again and again?

Another stumbling block for SMEs trying to win public contracts is the requirement for references to be provided from other public bodies.  How can smaller companies ever get a foot in the door?  Surely a good reference from a commercial customer carries as much weight as a good reference from a public body?  This insistence on references from one type of customer only perpetuates the advantage already held by the incumbent contractors.

If public bodies took the plunge and started working with local companies they would reap the rewards; lower prices, better communication and more flexibility.  Most importantly of all local communities would benefit from increased employment without any additional cost to the Government.

How do you feel about this issue? As a private company or SME, have you also experienced frustration on this matter?