The extent to which smaller firms are able to access public sector contracts is being probed in the first East Midlands Chamber* Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) of the year.
It is hoped the results will build a picture of how widely the benefits of public procurement projects are spread across the region and to what tier level and what opportunities exist for smaller firms.
Questions added to the QES for Quarter 1 ask what percentage of turnover comes from the public sector, whether involvement is as at international, national or local level and whether in the past two years companies have experienced any significant changes.
They also ask if firms think procurement practices could be improved for public sector contracts and, if so, how.
Chris Hobson, the Chamber’s Director of Policy, said:
“We know hundreds of smaller firms across the region provide goods and services to larger companies delivering regional, national and international public sector contracts.
“What we want to do is build up a more accurate picture of exactly how the delivery is broken down, how many firms and how many of the regional workforce are involved and whether it has changed for the better or worse in the past two years.
“We want to ascertain what level of each pound generated in the East Midlands stays in the East Midlands, all part of our ongoing support for ‘thriving communities’ initiatives which evolve from the principal that if the community flourishes then so can the businesses in it.
“There are going to be significant public sector opportunities arising from regional projects, such as HS2 and the regeneration it will deliver at Toton and Chesterfield. The Chamber has been actively involved in making sure as many firms as possible are aware of these opportunities and are ready to take advantage of them.”
Examples of some of the opportunities that sit outside the expected larger civil engineering, railway systems and rolling stock elements of the project include landscaping, tree surgery, pest control, wildlife habitat and woodland relocation.
Others include telecoms, site offices and compound works, site security, signage, CCTV, traffic surveys and management, ground investigation, drone surveys, labour and staff wellbeing, plant hire, aggregates, ducts and pipework, specialist photography and more.