Crown Commercial Service has published its first small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) action plan

Published 27 January 2022

Last updated 9 May 2022

Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has published its first SME action plan, outlining how the organisation is helping the public sector to meet the government’s aspiration to level the playing field for SMEs.

As well as setting out CCS’s continued commitment to take positive action to make sure that the SME sector is well represented in our agreements, the action plan reaffirms the organisation’s role in enabling customers to increase the proportion of their procurement spend that goes to SMEs.

The action plan also sets out how supporting the growth of the SME sector will generate opportunities to deliver greater social value through public procurement – helping the UK to build back better and more fairly.

Richard Denney, Director, Corporate Pillar said:

SMEs bring diversity and innovation to our supply chains, and levelling the playing field for businesses of all sizes will bring economic and social benefits and support the UK to build back better and fairer.

Our action plan sets out the work we’re doing to ensure we’re continuously creating those opportunities, supporting our customers to boost the value delivered through their procurement.

The action plan sets out how CCS is simplifying public procurement processes to make it easier for a diverse range of suppliers to win government contracts, improving market engagement and access, and digitising aspects of the user journey to remove barriers to SME participation.

Government spend with SMEs rising

Three quarters of suppliers on CCS’s commercial agreements are SMEs, but they currently receive only around 13% of total spend directly, though many also receive ‘indirect’ spend, by acting as subcontractors to larger suppliers.

Direct spend with SMEs through CCS agreements rose by £392 million in 2020/21, compared to 2019/20, reaching £2.5bn in total. The number of SME suppliers winning business through CCS agreements has almost doubled since 2018.

Figures released in May 2021 show that 26.7% of total central government procurement spending in 2019/20 went to SMEs – an increase of £1.3bn year-on-year.

The Government also published an updated ‘Selling to Government Guide’ on 4 December 2021, giving SMEs essential information on how to bid for and win government contracts.

Find out more

To find out more about how CCS is levelling the playing field for suppliers of all sizes, download our digital brochure.