Are councils doing all they can to help SME transport consultancies thrive?

Last Thursday 2nd March, one of our Directors David Young published an article in Local Transport Today covering “Are councils doing all they can to help SME transport Consultancies thrive?”

You can view the full article – Viewpoint – Are councils doing all they can to help SME transport consultancies thrive?

Here is a brief snippet of what he covered;

Of course we all appreciate that local authorities are struggling with revenue resources due to austerity. I should know, having previously led a public sector organisation whose budget was cut by 35% and staff reduced by over 50%. This means that fewer people have to work smarter and harder, but great care needs to be taken to ensure that the efficiency drive does not have perverse or unintended local consequences.

Take procurement as an example. An obvious way of reducing procurement costs is for local authorities to work together, sharing costs and delivering further savings through enlarged purchasing power. An alternative is to reduce the volume of your procurement, utilising frameworks with enlarged scopes of work.

As well as making the public sector more efficient, the approach to procurement needs to align to both local and national economic strategies. Typically this means supporting local and UK businesses, especially small medium enterprises (SMEs) who make up 99.9% of UK business. SMEs are very important because they employ and train local people – people who spend their wages in the regional economy.

An authority’s procurement strategy needs to align with its economic strategy. If the authority has a priority to support regionally-based businesses, then frameworks and tenders need to be structured to support this objective. To do this, authorities need to understand the local supply chain, and tenders need to be designed to a scope that matches the SME market.

The way forward has to be improved dialogue directly with regional businesses or through the professional institutes. Brexit presents an opportunity to change the dynamic in the longer-term.


For further information contact David Young on 0113 887 3323