Government inefficiency costing UK SMEs £734m every year

Spend Network, a start-up at the Open Data Institute (ODI), analysed £1tn of EU procurement data and found that the UK’s tendering process is 45 per cent slower than the EU average. This adds up to £734m of stalled funds which could be delayed to UK SMEs each year.

“Delays such as this not only create an unnecessarily challenging environment for SMEs, but also dissuade SMEs from engaging with government in the first place,” says Ian Makgill, managing director of Spend Network.

“Having to wait nine months to know if you’ve won a contract is really only feasible for larger companies, SMEs simply can’t operate with a nine month delay on cash flow.”

In its analysis of tender processes across Europe, Spend Network found that the UK public sector is third slowest in the EU for completing tenders, behind only Greece and Ireland. UK Government took 45 per cent (53 days) longer than the EU average to complete an EU compliant tender in 2013.

The delay of 53 days starves the UK’s SMEs of £734m of cash flow each year as they wait for the Government to award contracts.

“Access to data such at this is critical to an open economy. We applaud the steps that the European Union has already taken to open up datasets but there is more that they can do,” adds Gavin Starks, CEO of the Open Data Institute.

“Too many EU datasets, including the data that this research is based on, is still not provided in a truly open and useful manner. Doing so would enable us all to understand what the causes and solutions may be to help grow our SME economy.”

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