Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has published its new small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) action plan, outlining how it's helping the public sector meet the government's aim to work with more SMEs.

Published 25 January 2024

Last updated 26 January 2024

Alongside this, CCS has also published its voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) action plan, which outlines how CCS will improve the awareness of VCSEs both within CCS and amongst our customers, with the aim of increasing VCSE presence on our agreements and reducing barriers to participation.

SME action plan

The SME action plan sets out CCS’s continued commitment to take positive action to ensure that the SME sector is well represented in our agreements. It reaffirms the organisation’s role in enabling customers to increase the proportion of their procurement spend that goes to SMEs.

The SME 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 economy to grow.

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 as well as supporting the UK to grow the economy.

Our updated action plan sets out the work we’re doing to ensure we’re continuously creating those opportunities, supporting our customers to improve the value and outcomes 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.

Public sector spending with SMEs through CCS frameworks increases

By February 2023, nearly 6 in 10 suppliers on CCS agreements were SMEs and 16% of direct spend through these agreements was with SMEs, though many also received ‘indirect’ spend, by acting as subcontractors to larger suppliers.

Direct spend with SMEs through CCS agreements rose by over £1 billion in 2022/23, compared to 2020/21, reaching £3.6 billion in total. The number of SME suppliers winning business through CCS agreements has almost doubled since 2018.

Additionally, the number of SMEs gaining revenue is also showing an upward trend over the past 5 years, increasing from about 800 in April 2018 to 1,500 in December 2022. However, this equates to only 25% of SME suppliers going on to win business meaning that there is still more to do across government to make sure that SMEs are awarded a greater share of the work.

Find out more

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