Government have stressed that tender processes are being opened up to SME’s and they are encouraging them to bid for tenders which takes a lot of time, resource and money to complete. SME’s do not have dedicated teams to write these bids therefore to even get a bid out of the door takes a lot of time and money.
Unfortunately, we are seeing time and time again, tenders being awarded to the big boys of the consultancy world just because the name is recognised. We have seen on many occasions that Councils and companies are wasting thousands on services that are not benefitting them. There have been times where we have scored best on value for money but let down on experience, but how can you gain the experience these big consulting firms have when not given the chance and when your company is only 3 years old?
I have personally seen on tender applications that we are not allowed to give individuals’ experience and only the companies, which automatically marks us down as a business being only 3 years old. We have the means, skills and methods to complete these issues that different councils and companies are having but as we don’t have the ‘experience’ we’re disregarded. There’s a specific tender that sticks out in my mind, they refused to read our response as procurement marked us out from experience. This tender had taken a week to prepare and we were excluded within 5 minutes even though the method to which we would have completed the work was ideal for them and value for money.
Having aired my frustration out loud in the office, I actually had a really good discussion with a colleague of mine about SME’s. Why is there not a tender framework designed exclusively for them? Companies are able to advertise their needs within this and only SME’s are able to respond. Companies and Councils are not seeing that by possibly taking on an SME, they could have an answer to their problems that is completely out of the box and something that is completely different to the normal ways of working.
It’s such a shame, small and innovative consultancies are not given the chance to really shine and make a name for themselves, especially when big names who are overpriced and unable to deliver are overshadowing them.
It’s time for companies and Government to back David and stop betting on Goliath again and again!