Huge improvements to the Contracts Finder website

I represent Innopsis and the Telecoms industry on the Cabinet Office SME Panel. The work of the panel is split into working groups and I chair the Contracts Finder Working Group. In this article I want to share with you some of the huge progress we are making.

I recently wrote a half year review for the 6 months to 30th September 2017 for the Cabinet Office SME Panel and the Minister Caroline Nokes, MP. I have attached a copy for your information. There has been even more progress in October 2017, so I’ll give you a completely up-to-date picture.

There are several hundred public-sector procurement portals in the UK. We cannot change that. Instead we are seeking all procurement portals to also post a notice (pre-engagement, future opportunities, tenders and contract awards) on Contracts Finder so that you can find them all in one place.

There has been a huge increase in the number of buyers registered on Contracts Finder

Unless Buyers post notices on Contracts Finder no-one in industry will bother looking at it. One of the key issues over the last 6 months has been to get as many buyers as possible to register to use it. I am now pleased to report that the following public-sector organisations are now registered on Contracts Finder…

  • All the Fire Services and Police forces
  • All Central Government departments
  • All but one Local Councils (I won’t name them)
  • All but 5 of the 493 NHS Foundation Trusts
  • All but 8 of the 123 Universities

This is a massive step forward. We now have to ensure that it doesn’t become like a gym membership ie I have registered but I don’t use it.

Contracts Finder regularly contains more notices than TED

In the attached report you will see that every month this financial year Contracts Finder has contained more notices than TED; the European tender service.

Suppliers are registering at an increasing rate as notices increase in volume

Suppliers are registering at about 200 per week. This is about twice the rate of 6 months ago. Over 20,000 companies are now registered and around 63% are SME’s.

In the 6 months to September 2017 the Contracts Finder website had over 4.2m page views as 43% more tenders were advertised.

Next Steps

We also want prime contractors to advertise sub-contracts on Contracts Finder as SME’s win as much work this way as through direct awards. The pilot scheme for the first sub-contractors has worked and we are now in discussions with MoD, Transport for London and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority about linking in with their procurement portals.

We should all applaud the work of the Contracts Finder team at Crown Commercial Service for making huge, demonstrable progress in the last 6 months and supplying better management information to allow us to monitor progress.

We now need your help to publicise the Contracts Finder website https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Ian Fishwick

Commercial Director

Innopsis

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