§ 76. Mr. William Powell
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his Department's policy of purchasing goods and services from small businesses.
§ Mr. Cope
The purchasing policy of my Department places special emphasis on the role of small firms in achieving value for money. This policy is set out in guidance and training to all my Department's staff who now have greater discretion to use commercial suppliers since we have signed new customer agreements with the central procurement agencies.
More generally, as Minister responsible for small firms, I am concerned to promote their role in Government purchasing as a whole. Small firms can face particular difficulties when trying to break into these markets, but to overcome this my department is encouraging simplified procedures for Government purchasing and improved information such as the small firms service's booklet "Tendering for Government Contracts".