As part of a series of measures intended to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete for government contracts, the Cabinet Office published a new Procurement Policy Note earlier this month specifying that:
- for any procurement of goods or services under the EU procurement threshold Contracting Authorities should not use a Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) to pre-qualify suppliers;
- for any procurement of goods or services above the EU procurement threshold a revised set of PQQ core questions should be adopted (although PAS91 should continue to be used for construction procurements); and
- Contracting Authorities must also avoid using a mechanistic approach to their financial appraisal of suppliers (such as requiring an arbitrary minimum turnover) which may either rule out SMEs who are financially stable or which will not provide SMEs with the opportunity to grow their business by winning Government contracts.
The PPN can be viewed here and the revised set of PQQ core questions can be viewed here.
The contents of the PPN are mandatory for all Central Government Departments (including their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies). All other Contracting Authorities are strongly encouraged to apply the requirements of the PPN.