Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

There are three broad parameters which define SMEs:

        Micro-enterprises have up to 10 employees
        Small enterprises have up to 50 employees
        Medium-sized enterprises have up to 250 employees
One of the key priorities for Procurement is to improve SME engagement. This is highlighted in the EU procurement directives.
Six Simple Steps
In order to further engage with SMEs the Procurement Department has adopted the six-step process below.
1. Adopt the "Suppliers' Charter" - which commits public bodies to ‘recognising the need, where practical, to simplify and standardise processes and to ensure consistency in order to provide a fair and open approach to tendering’.
2. Use the Public Contracts Scotland advertising portal. Public bodies should:
·         publish their "buyer profile" on the portal - to help suppliers find out quickly and cheaply whether a public body is a potential customer
·         advertise as many contract opportunities as possible and publish contract award notices - to give suppliers free access to contract opportunities across the Scottish public sector
·         use the 'quick quote' facility for very low value contracts - to allow suppliers to bid for very low value contracts with the minimum of bureaucracy.
3. Review contract award procedures - to ensure that they place the minimum possible burden on suppliers, for example through use of a Standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire.
4. Use Outcome Based Tender Specifications wherever possible - to allow businesses to propose innovative and alternative solutions to public sector business needs.
5. Include in their terms and conditions a requirement that contractors pay any sub-contractors within 30 days of receipt of a valid invoice - to ensure that sub-contractors, as well as contractors, receive prompt payment.
6. Monitor spend with SMEs - use data from the Scottish Procurement Information Hub to monitor spend with SMEs. Monitoring spend by way of a Best Practice Indicator (BPI) will enable public bodies to demonstrate the success of the other activities.

Last Reviewed: 19/01/2016