More small businesses than ever before are securing public contracts through Public Contracts Scotland (PCS), the national advertising portal, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.
PCS figures show that 80 per cent of 13,308 suppliers awarded contracts through the online portal in 2012 were based in Scotland.
The statistics also demonstrate that 68 per cent of contracts were awarded to Scottish based small or medium sized companies (SMEs), a rise of 12 per cent since 2010.
Scotland’s public bodies spend over £9 billion each year on procurement. Construction accounts for more than 25 per cent of the total.
The Deputy First Minister unveiled the PCS annual report during a visit to the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh as she highlighted that of the 300 workers onsite, 87 per cent come from within a radius of 25 miles.
Ms Sturgeon said: “As these statistics illustrate, public sector contracts are of great significance to Scottish businesses and play an important role in building a wealthier and more successful nation.
“Last year saw substantial changes to Public Contracts Scotland that will further improve and simplify the ways businesses deal with the public sector.
“It is testament to the improvements made that we are now in a position where more small companies in Scotland than ever before are winning business with the Scottish public sector.”
Pat Shannon, managing director for Glasgow-based Craig and Buchanan, one of several local SMEs to win a contract within the new Campus, said:
“We have had success through PCS with other public sector work. This Balfour Beatty contract is vital at a time when the construction industry is still operating in a challenging economic climate.
“The Scottish Crime Campus contract is worth £806,000 to us, which is significant value for a business of our size. We normally take on two apprentices a year. However, thanks to the Balfour Beatty contract, we have employed an additional draughtsperson.
“We are hopeful that continued successes through PCS will greatly support the sustainability and growth of Craig and Buchanan.”
Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty Delivery Unit Managing Director, said the company was delighted to be awarded the Scottish Crime Campus fit-out contract.
He added: “The PCS service has benefited all of us. On the project we have appointed local companies employing local labour, which benefits the local community.
“In addition, new subcontractors have been identified for Balfour Beatty to work with in the future. This has been a great example of collaborative working with the Scottish Government.”
Susan Love, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) policy manager for Scotland, added:
“We need to ensure that Scottish small businesses know where to look if they’re keen to compete for Scottish public work. The Public Contracts Scotland web-portal is a great interface for both suppliers and public sector bodies.
“The FSB welcomes moves to develop the service so that the administrative burden associated with bidding for public work is minimised, especially with smaller contracts, through initiatives such as quick quote. This work is vitally important if we want to see more of Scotland smallest businesses winning more public contracts.”