Selling to the Public Sector doesn’t have to be like wading through treacle!

Govsell Services Limited

I was at a recent Chamber event where one of the speakers said that a local authority was “desperate” to buy their product, but procurement slowed everything down. I spoke to another delegate who said “its just too hard, I gave up”

Do not despair; it is possible to transact very quickly with Government if the groundwork has been done, in fact despite appearances that is the aim, and there are ways to achieve it through purchasing Frameworks.

I wonder if the presenter speaking recently was aware of the SPARK framework managed by Crown Commercial Service, designed to allow any public body to buy innovative solutions? This particular Framework runs until April 2023. It is a type of framework called a DPS – Dynamic Purchasing System, it means that new suppliers can join at any time throughout its life which is different from standard frameworks which usually offer a single chance to win a place at the start.

The barrier to entry to the DPS frameworks is not that high and they are designed to help government meet its long-standing target to spend £1 in every £3 with small businesses. The basic Cyber Essentials certification is mandatory, but really that is just common sense and good practice, organisations must also be able to show the right level of insurances. Beyond that many frameworks are within the grasp of most businesses to achieve with a couple of weeks of effort.

Once on a framework the procurement lead time is much shorter, sometimes public organisations will have to run some form of further competition, some frameworks allow “direct award”; in any event they reduce procurement lead times, give confidence to buyers that they are operating with pre-vetted suppliers and within the regulations.

Crown Commercial Service (CCS) currently has 108 framework agreements in place that can be utilised by Local Authorities, Charities, Utilities, Not for Profit organisations, Blue Light Services and Education that are among the many organisations that can purchase using Public Procurement regulations. 

CCS plays an important role helping the UK public sector save money when buying common goods and services.  It is the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK and uses commercial expertise to help buyers in central government and across the public and third sectors to purchase everything from locum doctors and laptops to police cars and electricity.

I specifically mentioned SPARK earlier, the framework team at CCS is keen to have more suppliers that can offer disruptive and radical innovation, if you can join it, it is your calling card and path of least resistance to selling into the public sector. The NHS is particularly strong users of this procurement vehicle, it would be good to see our innovative Chamber members thinking about joining and using it to grow public sector business for the benefit of all.

Take a look here to get started: Crown Commercial Service - CCS