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OGC TO IMPROVE COMPETITION IN THE GOVERNMENT MARKETPLACE

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The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is to increase efforts to...
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is to increase efforts to

widen access to the government marketplace for new entrants, Paul

Boateng, chief secretary to the Treasury announced today.

The government wants to see competitive markets operating throughout

the economy, and especially in areas where government itself is a

major purchaser.

Paul Boateng said:

'We need to have new suppliers of all sizes entering the government

marketplace because strong competition is one of the most important

ways to achieve value for money, both now and in the longer term.'

The new initiative will build on recent work carried out by OGC in

partnership with the Small Business Service (SBS) to open up the

government marketplace to suppliers - with an emphasis on SMEs. This

includes:

- The publication of 'Smaller Supplier - Better Value?' urging

public sector buyers to consider the benefits of dealing with SMEs,

the barriers they face and ideas for how to reduce them. An

accompanying video has just been launched.

- Government guidance on financial assessment of suppliers, which

encourages greater flexibility, and allows small and new companies a

chance at competing for relevant contracts.

- A Code of Practice for government buyers and suppliers emphasising

the importance of fairness, honesty, efficiency and professionalism

throughout the supply chain.

- Guidance for SMEs on selling to government, which is currently

being updated, transferred to a new website, and made relevant to

suppliers of all sizes.

This announcement also follows a report, published recently by the

Competition Commission, which makes recommendations aimed at

improving competition for major government contracts. This new

initiative will expand the scope of the work already undertaken to

respond to these recommendations, and to address barriers to

competition in the wider marketplace. In particular the OGC will:

- Work with the SBS and government departments to improve the

information available to suppliers on selling to government,

including information about forthcoming opportunities.

- investigate ways of reducing the costs associated with bidding for

government business.

An update will be presented to ministers in the summer.

NOTES

Established in April 2000, the OGC was set up to act as a catalyst in

procurement issues and to work with civil departments to achieve best

value for money in their commercial activities.

Responsible for civil central government procurement policy and best

practice including construction, property management, IT, the private

finance initiative (PFI), supplier relations including opening

government contracts to SMEs, e-commerce including the Government

Procurement Card, the Gateway Review Process, OGCbuying.solutions,

including the government buying catalogues, G-Cat and S-Cat and

developing strategic procurement partnerships with the private

sector.

Hard copies of the publications described above are available from

the OGC Servicedesk on 0845 000 4 999, and can also be viewed online

at www.ogc.gov.uk. These include:

- Smaller Supplier - Better Value? booklet and video

- Supplier Financial Assessment Guidance

- Tendering for Government Contracts

- Government Procurement Code of Good Practice

The report of the Competition Commission's Investigation can be

viewed on-line at www.competition-commission.org.uk

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