Rugby Borough Council gets award for small business support

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Rugby Borough Council has picked up an award for having the best procurement policy for small and medium sized businesses.

The FSB Small Business Friendly Procurement Award goes to the local authority in the sub-region with the best ‘small business friendly’ procurement policy.

The council picked up the award after analysis of its spending data showed that around 80 per cent of the council’s suppliers are small or medium businesses, accounting for around 53 per cent of the council’s annual spend.

By reviewing its policies on insurance, the council’s procurement team has eased the burden on small businesses by applying differential levels based on the nature of a project or procurement type, meaning that small businesses can now quote without having excessive levels of insurance cover.

And by teaming up with Coventry University, the council is able to offer support to small businesses wishing to work together and submit joint tenders for larger contracts.

Cllr Sally Bragg, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for resources and corporate governance, said: “Our procurement team are able to analyse the council’s spending data to make sure we have a healthy mix of small, medium and large businesses supplying goods and services. They can also amend our procurement practices and procedures where they are unnecessarily restrictive.

“By keeping the needs of small and medium sized businesses in mind we are able to get better value for money, while also supporting the local economy.”

Ian O’Donnell, FSB Warwickshire and Coventry Chairman, said: “These awards are an excellent way to highlight the sometimes less well known support and initiatives that councils provide the small business community - such as parking schemes, procurement opportunities and new business support.

“We awarded Rugby Borough Council the procurement award because they detailed how they have 10 day payment terms for small firms, how they analyse their spend so that they can maintain a healthy balance between smaller firms and large contractors and how they review their insurance requirements and apply differential levels for each project, therefore enabling small businesses to quote when there is no need for high insurance.

“They also reduced the need for Pre Qualification Questionnaires (PQQ’s) for smaller contracts by raising the thresholds to £75k and then £100k over the last two years. These are just a few of the excellent initiatives that Rugby Borough Council have implemented to help local businesses access contracts.”

Small and medium sized businesses can find more information about how to do business with the council at http://www.rugby.gov.uk/procurement.