Doing Business with Hampshire County Council
26 November 2012
Local businesses and voluntary organisations in Hampshire are getting extra support to navigate council procurement processes to help them gain access to public sector contracts.
Hampshire County Council is reinforcing its support for small businesses and the voluntary sector by offering help and advice on how they can do business with local government partners across the county.
It recognises that partnerships with local businesses are vital to ensure the continued growth and prosperity of the local economy. The County Council spends around £350 million procuring with Hampshire firms each year - around 60 per cent of its total procurement, the highest since monitoring began.
The 'Doing Business With Hampshire' event, which won an award from the Federation of Small Business' Wessex Region small business friendly awards last year, attracted 90 representatives in Ashburton Hall, Winchester on 22 November.
Councillor Ray Ellis, Executive Member for Economic Development and Rural Affairs at Hampshire County Council, said:
"We are constantly looking for the best companies and organisations to provide Hampshire with a wide range of top level local services. The tendering process can be daunting for some - and unfortunately an ability to navigate the tendering process does not always guarantee a high quality service.
"This award-winning event explains the entire procurement process and with the added benefit that similar procedures exist for tendering with the Police and Fire services, local government and other local authorities. It creates a level playing field for all businesses and organisations that want to bid for business within the public sector and will inevitably improve the standard of services that we can deliver to Hampshire's residents."
Feedback from the event will help develop future events and show where further training is required. The event will also help the Council by improving the quality of bids and tenders, saving valuable time spent scrutinising future bids.
Neil Jones, Assistant Director of Culture, Communities and Business Services opened proceedings and highlighted the importance that the Council places on partnerships with local organisations and small businesses. Sue Dovey, from the Hampshire Voluntary Sector Consortium, then introduced the day's agenda and emphasised that it was driven by 'hot topics' chosen by participants and by feedback from the Federation of Small Businesses and voluntary sector. Four speakers then gave short presentations on key, current topics such as social value in commissioning, bid writing and available support for local businesses.
The talks were followed by round-the-table breakout sessions where the participants discussed topics of their choice with specialists - both external hosts and council officers. The morning ended with closing remarks from Tim Colman, Wessex Regional Vice Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses who reinforced the importance of the County Council's continued support to local businesses.