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Removing SME Public Procurement Participation Barriers in Wales

Bangor research helps Welsh companies to win more public sector contracts

Bangor Law School’s pioneering research into the legal and risk barriers that prevent small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) from bidding for public sector contracts has brought about a transformational change of approach resulting in greater transparency in public procurement and more contract wins for small companies.

Led by Professor Dermot Cahill, the research uncovered a number of flaws, including evidence that public bodies in Wales were not providing sufficient tender evaluation information, and in many cases they were not even advertising ‘sub-OJEU-level’ contracts (below £130,000) which are of the ideal size for SMEs.

In response to these and other deficiencies, Bangor developed the Tender Review Instrument (TRI) and contributed to the Winning in Tendering project which has had a profound impact on policy and public procurement practices.  Since the introduction of the Supplier Qualification Information Database (SQUiD) tool, developed by the Welsh Government as a result of Bangor’s findings, the proportion of major Welsh public sector contracts being won by Welsh businesses has increased from 1/3 in 2010 to 2/3 in 2013. Bangor’s research has also enabled tender procedure process time to be reduced to 38 days (compared to a target of 120 days).

The research, which has driven policy improvement by Government and changed poor public sector procurement practices is now being adopted internationally.

“The ‘Barriers’ research conducted by Prof Cahill and his team in 2008 and 2009 was ground breaking evidence-based research and has proved instrumental in shaping the procurement landscape in Wales and beyond.” Gunther Kostyra, Head of ESF Programme, Value Wales, Welsh Government

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