Chamber pleas for Cabinet to ease PQQ burden

Do away with varied PQQ systems and create a single national database of public sector suppliers – that is the main idea put forward in an open letter from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to Francis Maude MP, minister for the Cabinet Office.

The letter was compiled by Phil Cusack, regional director of Aecom and chairman of the Chamber's property and construction committee.

Cusack highlights several issues which the Chamber feels are stunting business growth, particularly within the construction sector.

In the letter, Cusack said the administration process behind pre-qualification questionnaires and tender documents is slowed down by the onerous task of repeatedly submitting large quantities of information to different public bodies. The Chamber recommends that a central database of suppliers to public bodies be established, with suppliers themselves wholly responsible for maintaining the information.

Cusack said: "The construction industry in our region was severely impacted by the recession and is still finding conditions incredibly tough. Our members are consistent in their observations that the procurement processes are slow and bureaucratic, and as a Chamber of Commerce, we feel that these issues are not exclusive to our region. Our Property and Construction Committee represents the views of over 600 businesses across Greater Manchester and we believe that unless changes are made to the current system, the construction sector's recovery from recession will be hampered, and the broader economy will also suffer."

Also outlined in the letter are the committee's views on the notion of social value, which is often a judging criterion in procurement contests, calling for a clear definition from ministers. The committee recommends a more committed move towards the understanding of whole life costing for contracts, with defined and reliable metrics.

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I agree that public procurement is disfunctional(West Coast Franchise) but a national database of suppliers would end up having only large national and international firms on it(see OGC framework of property suppliers) and small regional firms would not get a look in. Not a surprise then that the director of a global american firm with 45,000 staff argues for it. What is a surprise is that he is able to do so under the banner of the Chamber of Commerce who purport to support and represent local SME’s.