The Government has an aspiration for one third of all procurement contracts to be awarded to small and medium sized businesses. Many of those businesses will have a preference to trade locally or regionally. But how many of those businesses – that includes you – look to see what public sector contracts are available locally? And what are you doing within your business to support other local businesses? Can you purchase more at a local level? Do you check to see where the goods and services you purchase are bought from? Do you employ local staff?
Remember, the more business you do locally, the greater the benefit to the local economy, and that has a knock on effect. If you’re supporting more local businesses, they in turn can do the same, and more of your money remains in the local community.
How do you convince your local public sector buyer that you are better than someone from out of area. Well firstly, it is important to remember that under the Public Contract Regulations, the public sector cannot favour local suppliers and prioritise them over non-local suppliers. So, you have to demonstrate the benefits of using a local supplier to them. That may be increased social value – better skilled people in the local area, greater economic benefit, more rapid delivery of your service to them, knowledge of local issues, local charitable activity etc.
It might also be that your service is more cost effective, since you’re not incurring significant transport costs to deliver something half way across the country. It might be that you use a local supply chain to deliver the goods or services that you provide.
Think from the buyer’s perspective. What will be important to them? How can you deliver that in a better way than other suppliers? Sometimes, local and small is best – you just need to be able to convince the buyer that choosing you is going to give them greater advantages than if they were to choose someone else.