February 15, 2013 - Rachel Miller
A new approach to buying in consultancy services promises to make it easier for small firms to get Government contracts and to deliver greater value and innovation at the same time.
The new ConsultancyONE framework developed by the Government Procurement Service (GPS) will replace all existing arrangements for central government departments and will be used by organisations across the UK public sector.
The new framework provides a single route for the government to buy consultancy services – where there is a clear business case in line with Cabinet Office controls – and will end reliance on big business, said Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office.
The framework promises to open up competition to more suppliers and consultancies of all sizes – already 47% of the successful firms are not existing suppliers.
Francis Maude said: "With SMEs making up over 27% of suppliers on this first phase of the framework, we're creating more opportunities and boosting business for smaller providers where we know greater value and innovation can be found. In addition, SMEs have been awarded places on lots which have historically been dominated by large firms."
Cost-cutting is an important part of the initiative. Maude said: "We've already put an end to excessive consultancy spend by establishing stringent controls which have slashed the cost to the taxpayer by 85% and saved over £1 billion in 2011/12 compared to the level of spending in 2009/10."
David Smith, commercial director at the Department for Work and Pensions and senior responsible officer for the consultancy framework, said: "I very much welcome this single framework for Government which will offer us better value for money and greater and direct access to the innovation and expertise that SME providers can offer."