Bristol City Council plans to offer at least 25 per cent of its £25m annual IT services spend to SMBs over the next three years.
Councillor Jon Rogers, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources at Bristol City Council, said the aim was for Bristol's own digital sector to have a greater chance of getting a slice of the IT services pie. This will be achieved by changing the way it delivers IT services.
"The strategy will require maintaining a more flexible approach towards procurement of its third-party contracts, which will result in smaller packages of work being procured for shorter periods of time, therefore offering more opportunities for more suppliers," Rogers said. "The aim is to work towards a target of more than 25 per cent work with SMEs over the next three years."
He said Bristol is host to many small and medium-sized firms, but they currently face too many obstacles to winning work from the public sector. The move reflects the government's aims nationally, he added.
"The government has recognised the need to change this policy and we support this move wholeheartedly. Our aim is that within a few years, more than a quarter of our annual spend on ICT is directed towards SMEs, and I hope Bristol firms will be in a position to gain from this," Rogers said.
The council is inviting local SMBs interested in winning some of its IT work to a forum on Tuesday 4 September at Colston Hall, Bristol.
At the event, the council will discuss the government's G-Cloud framework for public sector IT services and how local suppliers can make their services accessible without large procurement costs. It will also explain Bristol's Workplace programme, which aims to shrink the number of its council offices from 35 to nine or 10 within four years.
The council believes that Workplace will improve service delivery to the public as well as modernise the way staff work by making more use of IT. Natural England, a government body focused on supporting the natural environment, will also talk about its procurement and the opportunities available to smaller suppliers.
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