BSSEC CIC: Department for Transport and Working with SME’s

We have much to learn from the recent Department for Transport targeting of SME’s for improvement of business opportunities for SME’s.

DfT actions for improving business opportunities for SMEs

Their over achievement of last years targets are very inspiring and evidence the success of their Action Plan.  Spend in 2021/22 was the second highest in Whitehall £19.2 billion.

34.1% of this budget was spent with SME’s.    

There are three main policies supporting the SME action plan:

     > Prompt payment. From 1 April 2022, bidders for new contracts are required to provide evidence they have paid 95% or more of their invoices in 60 days or 90% to 94% of their invoices in 60 days and agree to an action plan. See Procurement Policy Note 08/21.

     > Transparency to Tier 2. DfT group contact key suppliers who are responsible for the top 80% of spend with DfT to ascertain spend with SMEs. See Procurement Policy Note 01/18.

     > Reserved contracts. Departments have two options to reserve contracts below threshold:

          1. Reserve the procurement by supplier location.

          2. Reserve the procurement for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) or Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs).

In addition, they have held SME supplier events, they have a pipeline of opportunities listed on Contracts Finder, and they provide tender clinics and regional events and use social media as one of the approaches to reach SME’s.

All this is supported by good business support. They found that market engagement was essential.   

For more information on public sector and social procurement, please contact

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