Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, visited services procurement business Matrix SCM in Milton Keynes today.
The visit was arranged on the recommendation of conservative MP Iain Stewart, the Milton Keynes South Member of Parliament.
During the visit to Matrix SCM, Francis Maude witnessed first-hand how dynamic procurement technology is currently being used by Birmingham City Council, Europe’s largest local authority, to commission care for its citizens.
Elizabeth Ross, assistant director, Operational Commissioning at Birmingham City Council explained how Matrix SCM’s dynamic procurement platform, SProc.Net has enabled the council to make savings of 17 per cent on social care service provision since implementing it in October 2012.
While at Matrix SCM, Francis Maude was also able to meet representatives from Harrow Council and from Enfield and Newham councils that have also successfully implemented the Matrix SProc.Net platform.
Mr Maude said: “SMEs are a key driver of economic growth that will help us get ahead in the global race. But in the past it was far too difficult for these innovative businesses to work with Whitehall. We have been reforming our procurement to encourage SMEs to tender for and win government business. There is more to do as part of our long-term economic plan, but the proportion of direct and indirect business with SMEs has reached nearly 20 per cent.”
Julian Young, Matrix CEO and founder said: “Traditional frameworks are out of date and don’t work for government procurement of bespoke, individualised services like social care. Systemised procurement is the future for the public sector and for local councils all over Britain - it creates transparency, fairness and accountability.”
During the visit, Francis Maude was shown how a web-based procurement model creates a level playing field where even the smallest SME companies can see the types of contracts available and enter a proposal if they are interested. The whole environment is inclusive, allowing any interested supplier to review business that’s already been won and the level of spending to date in a given area - for example, domiciliary care services, residential care provision, temporary staff provision, or services for children with special needs - before they bid for tenders.
Mr Young added: “It’s great to see Mr Maude taking such an active interest in what can be done to update and improve public sector procurement. Always open to new suppliers, and a great way to engage with SMEs, dynamic procurement is a genuine, proven solution that needs to be on the Government’s radar.”