AN extra £18million of contract work is being put within the reach of small firms by Herts County Council.
The authority has decided to raise the level at which it asks for quotations – but below which firms don’t need to enter a formal and complex tendering process – from £50,000 to £75,000.
Councillor David Lloyd, Hertfordshire’s supremo for resources and economic wellbeing, said: “We want to do what we can to help local business at this time and these changes should greatly improve access to our contracts.”
Business organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have been campaigning for red tape to be eased on bidding for contracts from the public sector.
The contracts could include anything from equipment supply to painting and decorating.
Decisions on contacts worth less than £10,000 will remain with council officers, while those between £10,000 and £75,000 will require competitive quotes from three contractors. At least one of these quotes will now have to be obtained from a Herts company or third sector organisation.
Pam Charman, who chairs FSB’s Hertfordshire branch, which represents 3,500 small businesses in the county, welcomed the move.
She said: “Anything which reduces red tape and makes it easier for small and local businesses to win contracts in the current economic climate is good news.
“Our members are already using the Hertfordshire Supplier Portal.
“However, this assumes that local authorities will know which companies to approach for quotes, so it is heartening to see that the council is also stipulating that at least one quote must come from a Hertfordshire business. This greatly increases chances of sub-contracts to local small companies and boosts local employment.”
Further help is available by visiting http://hertscc.g2b.info/ and firms can also register for email notification of potential business.