IPL has been selected by the Crown Commercial Service to develop a new version of Contracts Finder to support the delivery of important commercial reforms, part of the Government’s flagship SME programme.
The new Contracts Finder will support the Government’s commitment to increase the diversity of suppliers it uses, by cutting red tape and making it simpler and less time-consuming for companies to bid for public sector contracts.
It is also an important step in the implementation of the reforms for small businesses recommended by Lord Young in his Growing Your Business report, which come into force at the end of this year. All public sector organisations will be required to publish their tender opportunities in a single system, which will further open up the market, making it easier for suppliers, particularly SMEs, to access public sector business opportunities.
IPL, itself an SME, will be building the new enhanced ‘Contracts Finder’ system, which will be the single place for all public sector procurement opportunities worth more than £10,000. It will provide access to all areas of common goods and services procurement, from IT and stationery through to furniture. The site will also provide a forward-looking pipeline, showing when new contracts are due to be procured, which will make it easier for companies to search for work in their sector and plan ahead when it comes to bidding.
Due to be launched later this year, the new Contracts Finder will link with a number of other government IT systems, and will be built using agile techniques and state-of-the-art secure cloud technology, which will enable the service to scale up as usage grows.
A Crown Commercial Service spokesperson said: “The new Contracts Finder is part of our overarching technology strategy, joining up systems and platforms across the commercial landscape to improve efficiency, provide increased transparency into public sector spending and ultimately drive further savings for the taxpayer.
“This contract is another example of how the Government’s procurement reforms are opening up markets to new, smaller suppliers, supporting economic growth and encouraging competition, whilst providing the public sector access to innovative, cost effective solutions.”
Paul Jobbins, CEO at IPL, added: “We’re delighted to be helping the Government deliver better value to the taxpayer by making it easier for SMEs to bid for public sector work. As an SME, IPL understands the needs of these businesses when it comes to bidding for public sector work and the hurdles that need to be overcome. Contracts Finder removes many of the barriers to entry for smaller firms.
“Our deep systems integration and security expertise – as well as our track record of delivering high-profile systems within very tight timescales – means we’re the ideal delivery partner for the Government. Last year, for example, we used similar agile techniques and cloud technology to build UCAS’s award-winning Track system in a very short space of time.”