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Micro businesses register with new tender alerts service Supply2Gov

It has been over a week since we launched our new brand Supply2Gov. The tender alerts service for sole traders and micro businesses aims to make the public sector marketplace more accessible to smaller businesses.

Registration for the new service is currently free. If you want to find out more, we have all the details below.

Designed for micro and small businesses

Supply2Gov is a fresh and friendly brand that talks to micro and small businesses about the benefits of public procurement. Supply2Gov users can create new and lucrative revenue streams from the public sector supply chain.

With a modern look and feel, Supply2Gov can be a free and easy way for micro businesses to find more tender opportunities. Our application simplifies the whole registration process and presents an intuitive customer journey.

Flexible payment options

Completely new to the market, Supply2Gov tender alerts gives customers the option to ‘pay as they grow’, with a cost-effective monthly plan as well as a new biannual option.

This means customers have the scalability to work with a solution that’s aligned with their business model and suits their cash flow.

Coverage Options

BiP has introduced simplified and comprehensive coverage options, with Supply2Gov starting with free local area coverage and then moving directly to home country cover.

This gives customers full free access to relevant opportunities on their doorstep with the option to upgrade and access their regional market opportunity.

With more growth potential available and payment plans to support phased expansion, the new Supply2Gov is an excellent introductory solution for micro businesses and sole traders looking to break into the public sector marketplace.

Tender alerts for micro businesses

The team behind the brand are delighted with the final product and are excited to see that many sole traders and micro businesses are already interested in the tender alerts service.

Senior Marketing Executive Melissa Russell says: “Our team are all really excited to see Supply2Gov go to market and really kick off 2018.

“We know how time-consuming tender searches can be, especially if you’re a small business. That’s why we’ve made it as easy as possible for users to find procurement opportunities as soon as they become available.”

Reduce the amount of time your business spends on manual searching with Supply2Gov. Find out more about Supply2Gov and tender alerts on the brand’s website.

For a better insight into all our brands, visit our website.

Autumn Statement Procurement Top Tips

Autumn Statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent Autumn Statement offered new routes to leveraging business growth. Here, BiP Solutions journalist Julie Shennan gives 5 top tips for procurement actions to optimise your Autumn Statement opportunities.

With £23 billion of additional government spending pledged in Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s recent Autumn Statement via the new National Productivity Investment Fund, fresh pipelines of work have been outlined in areas such as infrastructure, housing, transport, defence, exports, R&D, oil and gas, communications and media.

Whatever your business sector, the Autumn Statement contains information that you can leverage to cut costs and open up new business opportunities. Here are 5 top tips for post-Autumn Statement good procurement practice.

1. Browse Business Breaks

Every year the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives business financial breaks via the likes of Corporation Tax cuts and business rates relief. These breaks often come with caveats that make them applicable to some businesses but not others; however, it is worth checking if your business qualifies so you can adjust your budget.

Also worth noting is that with each business break there usually comes a time frame for its implementation or a time limit on its duration. For example, in his Autumn Statement 2016 Mr Hammond pledged to cut Corporation Tax to 17% by 2020, suggesting that it may drop incrementally over the next few years.

2. Find Funding

Likewise, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement often announces funding opportunities for UK business growth, to stimulate things like innovation, local economies and overseas trade. This year the Chancellor pledged £400 million through the British Business Bank to invest in innovative small businesses with potential for growth.

Now that these funding opportunities have been announced, businesses that qualify and are interested should waste no time in contacting the British Business Bank to start their application. Fortune favours the brave, and awarding bodies will not knock on doors offering funding.

3. Utilise U-Turns

Just as suppliers should be diligent in checking the recent Autumn Statement for relevant new announcements, they should also check it for any U-turns on business breaks or funding pledged in previous years.

Each year brings new circumstances and challenges that can force policy U-turns, not least when there has been a change of government. Yet one supplier’s curse is often another supplier’s blessing as the scrapping of relief or funding in one area can lead to that assistance being rechanneled into another.

4. Pursue Pipelines

Arguably the most valuable business information in this year’s Autumn Statement is to be found in the new pipelines of work announced by the Chancellor. These pipelines vary from the rather open ‘£800 million to the Scottish Government for infrastructure projects’ to the more specific ‘£7.6 million for urgent and essential repairs to Wentworth Woodhouse heritage house in South Yorkshire’.

Now that the Autumn Statement has been announced, suppliers should research it for pipelines within their sectors and geographical areas of operation, bearing in mind that some sector pipelines – such as those in construction – have a trickle-down effect into others. For instance, a pipeline for building repairs might also bring security services opportunities to guard the building while the repairs are made.

After identifying a potential future pipeline of work, suppliers should then scan the procurement horizon for this work being put out to tender. This can be done by using a contracts finder service, checking national or local authority contract portals, monitoring news stories, or attending council meetings and networking events.

For best practice guidance on finding contracts, read The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts, Chapter 4.

5. Contact Contractors

Every now and then an Autumn Statement or Budget goes one step further, not only outlining new pipelines of work but also announcing the Tier 1 contractors who will be running them. For instance, in his Autumn Statement 2016 the Chancellor detailed that £850,000 would be awarded to a Royal Society of the Arts project to promote cultural education in schools. Once the Tier 1 contractor’s name is divulged then suppliers should strike up pre-tender conversations, to establish the scope of sub-contracts available.

Best practice guidance on pre-tender networking can be found in The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts, Chapter 9.

For more information on government opportunities, visit the BiP Solutions Resources page.

LGPE 2016 Review

LGPE

Leading the way in local government procurement, LGPE (Local Government Procurement Expo) returned for a second year at London Olympia on 2 November 2016.

Opening the event, Public Sector Consultant Colin Cram said:

“Local government is going to be at the heart of public service delivery transformation; it is getting more and more devolution from Whitehall, so local government will be responsible for more and more public services.”

Reflecting on this change was Tower Hamlets Council CEO Will Tuckley, whose LGPE keynote explained the importance of devolution in reshaping UK healthcare.

Mr Tuckley said:

“Devolution creates lots of opportunities to use the best expertise we have in local government and the NHS – across the public sector – to get better value.

“In these hardened times we still spend a lot of money ensuring that people have better chances in their lives and one of the ways people have better chances is by being healthier; so it is all of our responsibilities to work together to produce better outcomes. Devolution enables us to do this by taking decisions closer to these communities.”

Also keen to improve local government spend was Malcolm Harbour CBE, who outlined his hopes for the future in the LGPE keynote ‘Innovation in Procurement’.

He stressed:

“Public sector procurement people should be more ambitious, not too prescriptive; they should think about the big problems they want to solve then bring big ideas together to solve them. This is the way that we are going to get better public services that are more efficient at a better cost, doing a better job.”

While Mr Harbour recognised the importance of budget efficiencies, he added that procurement reform required more.

He explained:

“Procurement tends to be seen as a technocratic and bureaucratic exercise, whereas actually it is far more important than that; so procurement leaders need to ensure that they combine innovation in their strategy for the communities that they serve.”

Echoing this sentiment was Eastleigh Borough Council CEO Nick Tustian, who spoke at the LGPE Adding Value Training Zone.

Mr Tustian said:

In recent years I have noticed how you have to go through quite a massive cultural and organisational change to get to be commercially minded in procurement and I don’t think most public sector organisations really appreciate the level of change needed.”

He added: “Events like LGPE are essential to help people share their knowledge; everyone is on the same journey, just at different points along the way. I love coming to these events because I love listening to others; there is a lot of good practice out there.”

Best practice tips were shared in the LGPE keynote as well as in the Adding Value, Professional Procurement Skills, Social Value and Supplier Training Zones. Between training sessions, both buyers and suppliers took to the conference floor to network.

Peter Marshall, Professional Services Director at Commerce Decisions, said:

“I hosted a talk at LGPE about the development of appropriate evaluation criteria and after hosting the talk I got lots of people coming up to my stand, looking to chat about their projects and organisations.”

He continued:

“Partnering at an event like LGPE is a very important part of starting to understand your supply base and partners. If you want to ensure that you are getting the best value for money out of your bidders then you need to engage with them as early as possible.”

Reflecting on the conference, Social Value UK’s Communications and Membership Coordinator Christina Berry-Moorcroft commented in a similar vein:

“We managed to chat to people who are in charge of procurement as well as businesses that are tendering bids.”

Echoing this sentiment was Sims Recycling Solutions Business Development Manager, Guillaume Maricourt.

He said:

“I have most enjoyed networking at LGPE; sometimes we have talked to people in procurement who are not in IT but have helped us get in touch with the IT procurement department for their companies.

“If you want to get involved with procurement in the public sector then LGPE is definitely a good show to be at.”

Register your interest in next year’s event by visiting the LGPE website

 

Digital Strategies in Government Procurement: Procurex Wales

CarenFullertonIn anticipation of her presentation at Procurex Wales Live on 6 October at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, entitled Digital Strategy for Welsh Government, Caren Fullerton, Chief Digital Officer at the Welsh Government, spoke to BiP Solutions journalist Domhnall Macinnes about the importance of having a good digital strategy in central government procurement.

Caren Fullerton worked for the Welsh Government as an analyst for 15 years before moving on to such roles as Head of ICT for the Welsh Government’s agriculture department and Head of Corporate Services at the International Property Office, among others.

She said: “In my current role I’m responsible for providing leadership on the Welsh Government’s own digital services and digital delivery and also for some aspects of data. My team are also looking at opportunities to do things differently with respect to ICT services and unified communications.”

In April 2015, the Welsh Government published Digital First, a strategy outlining the Government’s approach to driving digital change in the public sector. Digital First aims to stimulate the provision of a variety of good-quality online services for citizens and businesses in Wales.

Mrs Fullerton explained: “A key principle underpinning Digital First is the ability to use digital to generate efficiencies and deliver value for money. Digital First is not overly prescriptive and instead provides a framework to drive improvements; we are already beginning to see some really tangible deliveries as a result of the strategy. We have also recently published an open data plan for Welsh Government, the principles of which are repeatable across the public sector. We already publish a vast amount of open data and the plan will stretch us even further. A USP for Welsh Government is that our data is bilingual and therefore valuable to a variety of people all over Wales.”

Mrs Fullerton also noted that the introduction of the National Procurement Service has had a positive impact on how suppliers and government do business all over the UK.

She continued: “I think it’s important to remember that Wales has a distinct policy agenda when it comes to digital development and digital approaches. Nevertheless, our citizens and businesses receive many of their services from Whitehall departments so I think it’s important that suppliers of services in Wales understand both the differences and our common ground in order to deliver the best quality products for us. This also helps their credibility when they look at developing themselves as suppliers to the rest of the UK.”

Mrs Fullerton touched on the vital importance of having a well thought-out digital strategy in central government procurement, benefiting both government and the supply chain.

She commented: “You want your suppliers to have done their homework up front when they are bidding for work so that the procurement process goes quickly and smoothly for them and for you. Also, these days it’s more likely that our procurements involve limited competition with a group of suppliers who themselves have already been through a framework contract procurement process.”

Mrs Fullerton briefly explored what the Welsh Government looks for in a supplier.

She said: “I’ve met suppliers that have come with really great products they’re potentially interested in trying to sell to Wales, but because they haven’t done their research on a lot of the things that matter to the public sector in Wales and the Welsh Government, they’re not really able to compete for that work. Do your research first!”

Rounding off the session, Mrs Fullerton provided a snippet from her upcoming talk at Procurex Wales and discussed the value of Meet the Buyer events.

Discussing the importance of digital change, she said: “I think the talk is mostly going to be around how digital change is about completely transforming the way in which your business operates. It is about rethinking how you deliver your service, sometimes through a very different business model. Examples from the private sector include Uber and Airbnb, where people have completely rethought how the transaction between the buyer and seller takes place and then built an IT system and new processes to deliver that. This radical rethinking also applies to how we need to transform the public sector.”

She concluded: “I think for buyers, events like Procurex are an opportunity to step back a bit and think about what it is you’re doing, while learning from the past experiences of others.”

Procurex Wales will be a hub for opportunity when private sector delegates and key public sector representatives descend onto the floor of the Motorpoint Arena for a day of networking. To gather fantastic tips about digital change from Mrs Fullerton’s speech and to seize the opportunity to gain much more, register for Procurex Wales Live 2016 today.

Budget 2016 Review

Budget 2016 Review

The UK Budget 2016 saw a continuation of the Conservative Government’s commitment to austerity, with a further £3.5bn of efficiencies forecast to be made by 2020. However the Chancellor also outlined measures to boost business growth; here BiP Solutions reporter Julie Shennan examines their implications.

Justifying the Budget cuts, Chancellor George Osborne explained that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had reduced its 2016/17 forecast for UK GDP growth to 2% (down from the 2.4% growth rate predicted in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement).

This reduction in growth forecast was explained as a result of ‘global uncertainty’, to which Mr Osborne said the Government would react with ‘sound public finance’, aiming to get the UK into a budget surplus by 2019/20.

The Chancellor outlined plans to:

  • Reform the business tax system;
  • Devolve power to local communities; and
  • Commit to national infrastructure projects.

Taxes

Mr Osborne’s business tax system reforms include:

  • Supporting a £1bn tax break for the oil and gas industry, including abolishing Petroleum Revenue Tax.
  • Cutting business rates for all small businesses that occupy property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less, as of April 2017.
  • Cutting Corporation Tax to 17% in 2020.
  • Scrapping Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) for self-employed people from April 2018, meaning that the self-employed only have to pay Class 4 NICs if their profits are over £8,060 per year.
  • Class 4 NICs will also be reformed so self-employed people can continue to build benefit entitlement.
  • Introducing a tapered rate of relief on properties worth up to £15,000.
  • Reducing Capital Gains Tax from 28% to 20%, and the basic rate from 18% to 10%, as of 6 April 2016.
  • Adding an 8 percentage point surcharge to be paid on residential property and carried interest (the share of profits or gains that is paid to asset managers).
  • Maintaining National Insurance on redundancy payments above £30,000, from April 2018.
  • Changing stamp duty rates for commercial property from 17 March 2016, so that tax bands will be 0% for the portion of the transaction value up to £150,000; 2% between £150,001 and £250,000, and 5% above £250,000.
  • Reduction of stamp duty for buyers of commercial property worth up to £1.05m.
  • Introducing a new 2% stamp duty rate on leases with a net present value over £5m.

Tax Avoidance Crackdown

Mr Osborne also outlined plans to raise £8bn over the next five years by closing the loopholes which allow large companies to legally avoid tax. He plans to do this by:

  • Capping relief on interest payments at 30% of UK earnings (with exceptions for groups with legitimately high interest payments).
  • Legislating against hybrid mismatching tax avoidance.
  • Taxing outbound royalty payments better – increasing multinationals’ UK tax payments.
  • Tackling suppliers storing goods in Britain and selling them online without paying VAT.
  • Ensuring offshore property developers are taxed on their UK profits.

Devolution

Just as Mr Osborne said he was making UK taxes work for UK businesses, he said he would put the power to spend those taxes into the hands of local governments. This means:

  • Devolving local government business rates by the end of the Parliament.
  • Starting the devolution of business rates in London, with the deadline of April 2016.
  • Backing elected mayors in Manchester, Liverpool, Tees Valley, the North East and Sheffield and the West Midlands.
  • Establishing mayors across English counties and southern cities.
  • Transferring new criminal justice system powers to Greater Manchester.
  • Introducing a single powerful East Anglia combined authority, headed up by an elected mayor and almost £1bn of new investment.
  • Agreeing a West of England mayoral authority and pledging almost £1bn to the region.
  • Giving Greater Lincolnshire new powers, new funding and a new mayor.
  • Implementing a new fiscal framework in Scotland.
  • Negotiating a City Deal for Edinburgh.
  • Devolving new powers to the Welsh Assembly.
  • Starting a £1bn City Deal for Cardiff.
  • Negotiating a City Deal for Swansea and a Growth Deal for North Wales, so it’s better connected to the Northern Powerhouse.
  • Planning the devolution of Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland.
  • Enhancing capital allowances to the enterprise zone in Coleraine.

National Infrastructure

To back this ‘devolution revolution’, the Chancellor laid plans to boost national infrastructure by:

      • Approving development of High Speed 3 between Manchester and Leeds.
      • Commissioning Crossrail 2.
      • Finding new money to create a 4-lane M62.
      • Developing the case for a new tunnelled road from Manchester to Sheffield.
      • Upgrading the A66 and A69.
      • Accepting the Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations on energy and on London transport.
      • Setting out measures to speed up the planning system, zone housing development and prepare the country for the arrival of 5G technology.
      • Increasing the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax by half a percentage point, and committing the £700m extra revenue raised to flood defence spending.
      • Backing flood defence schemes for York, Leeds, Calder Valley, Carlisle and across Cumbria.
      • Backing community development grants projects from Truro to Hull.
      • Extending the Cathedral Repairs Fund with an extra £20m.

Concluding his Budget 2016, George Osborne said it put ‘the next generation first’. With business rate relief, infrastructure investment and plans to strengthen devolution it is also a budget which supports businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, in the immediate months and years ahead.

The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts launches

Ultimate Guide pic

In response to UK government procurement reform, BiP Solutions has thrown a lifeline to those seeking public sector business by releasing its Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts.

The Ultimate Guide starts by explaining the scale of the public sector marketplace and the financial gains it has to offer businesses of all types and sizes. It then explains the preparation work that suppliers must do before bidding for contracts, as well as the practical steps involved in the various stages of the bidding process.

Not content to leave suppliers hanging, the Ultimate Guide goes further to explain what action can be taken after a bid, should an unsuccessful applicant seek further information. With jargon busters, top tips and graphs, the website appeals to a variety of users, from procurement novices to experts.

Procurement expertise is something that BiP Solutions has honed over 31 years; the company’s offering includes procurement services, portals, exhibitions and training. Now the Ultimate Guide is adding to these resources, linking private sector suppliers with public sector buyers.

Public sector buying is key to the private sector, as it is estimated some £263bn per annum is spent on procurement across the UK public sector.

And no company is too small to benefit from this business, as the UK government has an ongoing drive to involve SMEs in its supply chain, resulting in 27.1% of central government buying (between 2014-15) being with small businesses.

BiP Solutions itself reflects this success, as the SME has a history of winning public sector contracts, including with the 2012 Olympic Games, the Department for Communities and Local Government, Education Scotland and the Home Office.

Keen to spread this good fortune, BiP Solutions’ COO Simon Burges urged suppliers to read the Ultimate Guide.

He said: “For over three decades BiP Solutions has built its procurement expertise, and connected suppliers with public sector buyers.

“These connections have been developed through BiP products, services and events, which map the procurement landscape.

“Now, mapping this landscape, BiP is proud to launch the Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts. This guide will take suppliers step by step through the tender process, providing comprehensive advice in laymen’s terms.

“The Ultimate Guide is a complimentary publication that reaches out and offers suppliers an insight into BiP’s marketplace knowledge. This knowledge has never been more relevant to suppliers as local government devolution and central government transparency measures are opening up an increasing number of public sector contracts.

“With this in mind, I would urge suppliers to go onto the Ultimate Guide website and read its vital advice.”

Senior PASS (Procurement Advice and Support Service) Consultant Eddie Regan added: “Contractors, whether micro businesses or multi-nationals, can never learn enough about the public procurement rules and regulations. Success is driven by knowledge and hopefully many will find the Ultimate Guide a useful step on the journey to success.”

GET YOUR FREE COPY HERE

DPRTE is pioneering defence procurement: DSC

BiP DPRTE 2014

Pioneering defence procurement discussions will be held at DPRTE 2016 (on 16 March at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena) as UK Defence Solutions Centre (DSC) joins the DPRTE Innovation Hub. Here, DSC Executive Director of Innovation, Paul Winstanley, tells BiP reporter Domhnall Macinnes about the opportunities this will bring.

Opened on 23 March 2015 by Business Minister Matthew Hancock and Defence Minister Philip Dunne and functioning as an independent entity, the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UK DSC) is a new organisation jointly funded by Government and industry. UK DSC’s participation at DPRTE 2016, at the Innovation Hub, is another major incentive for businesses of all sizes to attend this invaluable procurement event.

A brainchild of the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP), UK DSC is an industry first; operating as an innovation centre where the leading minds in the defence industry can collaborate, advancing the UK’s capabilities and strengthening the UK’s position as a world leader in defence solutions. Attendees at the Innovation Hub will have a unique chance to engage with this new body, making themselves known and learning about UK DSC and the exciting opportunities the organisation presents for any budding innovative company looking to advance the UK’s defence technological capabilities.

Paul Winstanley, Executive Director of Innovation at UK DSC, said: “I would absolutely encourage other organisations to attend DPRTE. The more comprehensive the attendance the more benefits there will be for all industry representatives to reap.”

UK DSC works closely with UKTI DSO and the Customer Advisory Group and seeks customers worldwide; the outcome being a continuously expanding knowledge and understanding of industry requirements over the coming 15 years. UK DSC’s relationship with the UK value chain extends to the most prominent and established defence suppliers, as well as to any SME aspiring to push the boundaries of defence industry solutions with their innovations.

Mr Winstanley explained: “The DSC looks at how Government and industry can work together effectively to deliver prosperity, and furthermore how it can develop this relationship to benefit the defence capability of the industrial supply chain.”

With a background in applying innovative solutions across an extensive range of sectors including defence, Mr Winstanley’s passion now is delivering new technology solutions to defence. Being a new entity, UK DSC plans to fully utilise the opportunity presented at DPRTE to meet a wide variety of industry representatives through networking and raising awareness about prosperity and innovation, both of which Mr Winstanley notes are closely linked.

He commented: “We’re looking at the focus of the event being around acquisition, making sure we take into account the requirement of prosperity in acquisition, while looking more broadly at the role of innovation. You’re innovating, integrating and taking on board innovation as part of delivering prosperity.”

A small DSC team will accompany Mr Winstanley to DPRTE, looking to engage with the defence procurement community and learn of companies’ prosperity agendas.

He said: We engage across the board – we are part of the Defence Growth Partnership which has got the 16 major defence companies engaged already. So reinforcement of that engagement would be good.

“Equally, we recognise that there are many other suppliers in the value chain, ranging from academia to SMEs and midsized companies. We tend not to differentiate; we engage broadly across the entire value chain.”

Then, following the event, UK DSC will offer advice regarding how it can help companies to work towards building a more prosperous UK defence industry.

For more information on this and other procurement events, keep following the BiP Solutions blog…