An inquiry to examine whether a UK scheme allowing publicly-backed funds to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is being implemented in line with EU state aid rules. The opening of the inquiry gives interested third parties the option to comment on the measure under assessment.
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The Audit Commission study found more than three quarters of all fraud was detected by one quarter of councils, and 79 per cent of district councils detected no non-benefit fraud at all. The number of fraud cases detected by local authorities fell to 107,000 cases with a total value of £178 million in 2012-13, but with an overall 15 per cent increase in the average value per case to £1,664.
The UK government has reported half-year savings of £5.4bn, with £1.8bn saved through collaborative purchasing and by using “sensible spending controls”
A report, commissioned by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and authored by legal specialists Bates Wells Braithwaite , found the payment by results (PBR) mechanism in contracts to have “suffered from crude implementation” which has led to missed opportunities to improve public services.
The government consultation into streamlining the process of bidding for public sector contracts closed on 17 Oct and the outputs are awaited. SMEs represent 99.9% of the UK’s 4.5 million businesses, but just 10.5%of central government spend goes to them, at this time. The government aspiration is for this to be 25% by 2015.
The CBI has published a new statement of transparency principles for public service markets, which sets out performance information every contractor should provide and they believe this should include suppliers making disclosing their profit margins from their contracts.
Although there is UK and European legislation in place, late payment is still a problem faced by many suppliers and the prime Minister has announced a consultation will take place this year to question how responsibility for payment can be addressed by senior management; how the government’s own Prompt Payment Code can be strengthened; and how vendors can be encouraged to exercise their right to interest on late payments.
Previously we reported on a call from the OFT for public sector buyers and suppliers to contact them about their experiences with regards to the level of competition within the sector.
Companies in Wales who have blacklisted workers face being excluded from bidding for public sector contracts under a new policy.