Leader Views


Posted on:
26th August, 2020

Make sure your local businesses benefit from public procurement opportunities

In this article Martin Traynor OBE explains his role as the Government’s Small Business Crown Representative and how LEPs can play a vital role in ensuring businesses in their area benefit from public contract opportunities.

Make sure your local businesses benefit from public procurement opportunities

In January 2019  I was appointed to the role of SME Crown Representative by The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General.  This role is intended to give a voice to SMEs in government procurement and to help open up our supply chains to more SMEs.

In its 2019 manifesto, the Government committed to support SMEs and start ups through its procurement activities. Figures released earlier this year show that over one pound in four of the Government's £60 billion procurement spend in 2018/2019 was finding its way to SMEs, either directly or through the supply chain.

Over the past few months, in its response to Covid 19, there has been a shift in procurement activity towards directly supporting the NHS and other services but as the lockdown begins to ease we will see a range of new opportunities. The Prime Minister recently announced details of the Government’s economic recovery plan, with the bringing forward of capital projects.

This represents a huge opportunity for businesses in your area and I am especially keen that the benefits of this initiative are spread right across the country. I firmly believe that LEPs could, and should, play an important role in drawing this opportunity to the attention of companies in their area, especially SMEs.

Government and the wider public sector buy a huge range of goods and services. It’s not just the big-ticket items such as building prisons or buying aircraft carriers. You will find opportunities ranging from gardening services through to specialist scientific equipment used in the nuclear industry.

These business opportunities are advertised on Contracts Finder. This is the Government’s single online portal, where contracts valued above £10,000 in central government and above £25,000 in local government, the blue light services, and the NHS, are all listed. In addition, major government contractors are using Contracts Finder to advertise sub-contracts in their supply chains.

It’s free to use, where you can register and search thousands of opportunities. Simply go to https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder.

If we are going to drive this agenda forward and encourage more SMEs to consider doing business with the public sector, then Contracts Finder needs to be much better known amongst the business community. Last summer I wrote to all LEP Chief Executives, to ask them to include a link to Contracts Finder on either their website or the Growth Hub website. I am very grateful to those who have incorporated this link on their websites, but am also very conscious that we don’t have 100% coverage. I would like to encourage those who are yet to take the mantle to consider supporting this initiative.

In addition my team has developed a short guide on how Contracts Finder works. This guide provides the basic information needed to handle any enquiries from local businesses. If you would like a copy please email me at martin.traynor@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

As part of my role, I very much look forward to visiting LEPs across the country to hear first hand how you are supporting your SMEs and I’m more than happy to do that virtually at the moment. In the meantime, if you have any issues or ideas you would like to bring to my attention, then please feel free to make contact.




Breaking news


All News


All Events