Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance
On Monday 21 October I attended a networking event in Swansea to launch a guide that makes it easier for Welsh businesses to form consortia to bid for public sector contracts
The new Joint Bidding Guide gives practical advice on the benefits and challenges associated with bidding as a consortium, for both potential consortium members and professionals within the public sector who are advertising contracts. It was produced collaboratively by the Welsh Government, the Wales Cooperative Centre and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, and includes a comprehensive package of practical tools to help buyers and suppliers identify the benefits and manage the risks involved.
The guide can be accessed online.
I issued the Wales Procurement Policy Statement in December 2012, which sets out principles to be followed in all procurement activity. Both this Statement, and the Micro-Business Strategy Report of January 2012, promote consortium bidding as a way of enabling smaller businesses to compete for larger public contracts.
The majority of our businesses and third sector organisations are SMEs, and yet sometimes Welsh businesses may not have the capacity to bid independently for larger collaborative and one-off contracts. Consortium bidding and delivery is an ideal way for businesses to retain their autonomy whilst increasing their scale and scope to handle larger pieces of work.
The guide includes some good examples of companies coming together to successfully deliver public contracts in Wales and I want to see this success grow.
Our next steps are to develop some procurement training to be included within the suite of courses offered by the Value Wales training contract, and to run some consortium-friendly procurement pilots to test the guide and record lessons learnt. We will also work with our partners to develop training material for prospective consortium members.
This is an important addition to our public procurement toolbox and I look forward to seeing further examples of Welsh public service contracts being delivered by consortia.