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Working with SMEs

We’re fully behind the government’s agenda to actively support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in bidding for public sector work.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often struggle to win work, not because their offering lacks quality, but because they lack the time and resources to bid. The government has set out a very clear agenda that clears away some of these hurdles SMEs face during the bidding process and Capita is fully behind this.

One of the main objectives of Capita's procurement programme is to actively engage with SMEs, integrating them into our supply chain, and helping them become sustainable businesses. And as a result, the number of SMEs in our supplier base increased to 55% last year.

We’ve taken a number of steps to make it much easier and more cost-effective for SMEs to work with us, giving them the opportunity to be involved in large outsourcing contracts. These include:

  • Shorter and more precise requests for proposals – reducing the resources SMEs need in order to respond.
  • Reducing the number of terms and conditions that SMEs have to meet, accepting some of the liability that would conventionally sit with the supplier.
  • Simplifying our purchasing and invoicing process.

How we’re working together

For example, as part of our contract to provide a learning and development service to the civil service, Civil Service Learning, we’ve made it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to bid for public sector work.

We organise the overall training programme and can deliver a maximum of 49 per cent of the courses, but at least 51 per cent has to be delivered by a network of specialist training providers – most of them SMEs. We’re helping to make this process as streamlined as possible, ensuring it is as easy and cost-effective as possible for SMEs to participate.

This gives them a much better shot at contracts which they could win on the basis of their quality.

And, as part of our contract with the London Borough of Barnet, we’ve committed to investing money and skills in a community development programme to build both capacity and capability of the local Barnet supply base of SMEs, and voluntary and community organisations.

Person writing in meeting

In addition, as part of our community development foundation, ‘Creating Better Tomorrows’, established in early 2013, we’re using our own skills and services to support SMEs and third sector organisations. One way we’re doing this is by identifying services that we can deliver, via a virtual shared service centre, to help reduce costs, share expertise and support capacity building – allowing SMEs to concentrate on delivering their services and achieving sustainability.

SMEs are becoming an increasingly integral part of our supply chain, not only as suppliers to Capita, but also when we’re delivering contracts for our clients. Therefore, actively engaging them in our business and supporting them to help create a level playing field is something which is mutually beneficial and of key importance.

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