Update from Roundtable on Government Procurement with David Lidington and Oliver Dowden


Are you a SME VCSE organisation and want to attend a roundtable with the Cabinet Office to discuss your concerns about government procurement?


Last week 3SC attended a roundtable with the Rt Hon. David Lidington, C.B.E, MP, at the time Minister for the Cabinet Office and the RT Hon. Oliver Dowden, C.B.E. MP, at the time Minister for Implementation, organised by the Business Services Association (BSA) of which 3SC are a member. The roundtable was convened to discuss procurement reform, the relationship between government and industry and planning for post Brexit procurement reform.


The roundtable was chaired by Mark Fox, CEO of the BSA, and many of the private, multinational outsourcing companies were present. 3SC and one other organisation were the only Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations present and 3SC was the only Small to Medium Enterprise (SME).


Discussions covered how it is expected that the existing procurement rules will continue post Brexit until any replacement is developed and the Government is currently working up a green paper to outline plans for consultation on this.


There were a number of themes that emerged from the roundtable discussions and these included:

  • Value verses Price – how can commissioners better procure based on the value (and outcomes) of services?;
  • Risk Transfer – what risks should be transferred to providers and what should be retained?;
  • Financial Barriers – what are the barriers to bidding (i.e. turnover, size etc.);
  • The importance of diversity in the supply chain;
  • The Procurement Playbook (Project Santiago) and ensuring that it is used across government.


There was an agreed programme of follow up, which includes a plan for the BSA to arrange a roundtable for SME and VCSE members to discuss their concerns about procurement. The Cabinet Office wish to maintain an ongoing dialogue, to particularly explore the concerns and views of VCSE and SME providers around government procurement. It would be great if we could get as many SME VCSE partners at this roundtable as possible and indeed get more VCSE organisations to become BSA members to support these types of initiatives. Having a direct line to government through the BSA is invaluable in helping us all tackle the issues that our sector faces in government procurement.


If you are a SME VCSE interested in being part of the Cabinet Office roundtable for SME and VCSE partners to discuss your concerns about government procurement, want to find out more about becoming a BSA member or wish to discuss any of the above then please in the first instance contact Andy Shields at andy.shields@3sc.org.


Joanne Cholerton, CEO, 3SC