Simplifying Public Sector PQQs for SMEs

Simplifying Public Sector Pre-Qualification for Local / Central Government Contracts for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Many small to medium enterprises are missing out on winning public sector contracts – and the Public Sector is missing out on the chance to gain more innovative, customer focused and often cheaper, locally based services.

There are two main problems – the first is that most of the PQQ points are awarded at Pre-Qualification Stage only if the enterprise can demonstrate past experience in a particular, specific area – even though they may operate in the right industry. This is very difficult for some businesses – eg an architect's practice may have much experience in housing, but little or none in education – so it is effectively excluded from this sector, even if it has staff with education experience and offers the lowest tender price.

The second is the wide ranging and often irrelevant and absurd requirements for company policies and credentials e.g: staff ethnic monitoring policies (even if the firm has only ten people or less), membership of third party organisations with their own rigid and costly entry PQQ criteria e.g. Health and Safety Organisations, Investors in People etc. 

Some PQQs (e.g. ODA) award points if companies exceed the minimum standards for maternity pay – a worthy incentive – but how many SMEs can afford this? 

These requirements for pre-qualification present barriers to SMEs joining in with Public Sector Contracts.

The result is that the same, larger companies win most of the work, time and time again.

The idea:

1. Simplify and reduce PQQ requirements to the absolute minimum required to do the job – nothing more, nothing less.

2. Do not dis-qualify companies at the first PQQ stage who are operating in the right market sector, just because they have not had specialist experience of the exact type of contract offered.  

Why is this idea important?

Simplifying Public Sector Pre-Qualification for Local / Central Government Contracts for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Many small to medium enterprises are missing out on winning public sector contracts – and the Public Sector is missing out on the chance to gain more innovative, customer focused and often cheaper, locally based services.

There are two main problems – the first is that most of the PQQ points are awarded at Pre-Qualification Stage only if the enterprise can demonstrate past experience in a particular, specific area – even though they may operate in the right industry. This is very difficult for some businesses – eg an architect's practice may have much experience in housing, but little or none in education – so it is effectively excluded from this sector, even if it has staff with education experience and offers the lowest tender price.

The second is the wide ranging and often irrelevant and absurd requirements for company policies and credentials e.g: staff ethnic monitoring policies (even if the firm has only ten people or less), membership of third party organisations with their own rigid and costly entry PQQ criteria e.g. Health and Safety Organisations, Investors in People etc. 

Some PQQs (e.g. ODA) award points if companies exceed the minimum standards for maternity pay – a worthy incentive – but how many SMEs can afford this? 

These requirements for pre-qualification present barriers to SMEs joining in with Public Sector Contracts.

The result is that the same, larger companies win most of the work, time and time again.

The idea:

1. Simplify and reduce PQQ requirements to the absolute minimum required to do the job – nothing more, nothing less.

2. Do not dis-qualify companies at the first PQQ stage who are operating in the right market sector, just because they have not had specialist experience of the exact type of contract offered.  

Simplify ADR regulations for small goods vehicles

Currently, drivers of all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (ie Transit size and up) which are used to transport dangerous goods by road are required to take an ADR course and pass a test on the topic every 5 years.  Costs for this course are at least £300 per person, plus 2 to 5 days off work since the training course has to be attended in person.  The examination costs another £60 to £250, and is marked centrally by the Scottish Qualifications Agency.

Of course safety is important, but the ADR training course is over-the-top for drivers of small vehicles, and much too expensive for small companies.  It should be possible to take at least the refresher training online, or for small companies only operating small veicles (ie 3.5-5 tonnes) to have delegated authority to run the training courses and exams for their own staff once a manager has attended the training course and passed an exam.  Of course, the small company taking this responsibility would have to take on liability if they fail to run it properly.

The current system is bureaucratic, and adds nothing to the saftey of road users or drivers.  A huge industry has sprung up testing drivers, often cheating so that the instruction company can attain high pass marks.  It is box-checking and not value-added.

Why is this idea important?

Currently, drivers of all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (ie Transit size and up) which are used to transport dangerous goods by road are required to take an ADR course and pass a test on the topic every 5 years.  Costs for this course are at least £300 per person, plus 2 to 5 days off work since the training course has to be attended in person.  The examination costs another £60 to £250, and is marked centrally by the Scottish Qualifications Agency.

Of course safety is important, but the ADR training course is over-the-top for drivers of small vehicles, and much too expensive for small companies.  It should be possible to take at least the refresher training online, or for small companies only operating small veicles (ie 3.5-5 tonnes) to have delegated authority to run the training courses and exams for their own staff once a manager has attended the training course and passed an exam.  Of course, the small company taking this responsibility would have to take on liability if they fail to run it properly.

The current system is bureaucratic, and adds nothing to the saftey of road users or drivers.  A huge industry has sprung up testing drivers, often cheating so that the instruction company can attain high pass marks.  It is box-checking and not value-added.

Allowing temporary signs for promoting farmers’ markets

Amending the planning legislation which currently prevents farmers' markets from displaying signs to promote their markets.  Better promotion leads to more popular and better attended markets which are both good for the farmers and producers who attend but also the local community where the market is based.

Why is this idea important?

Amending the planning legislation which currently prevents farmers' markets from displaying signs to promote their markets.  Better promotion leads to more popular and better attended markets which are both good for the farmers and producers who attend but also the local community where the market is based.

Overhaul The Companies Act And Various Revisions For SME’s

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have an annual accounts audit.

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have to make an annual return to Companies House.

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have to file annual accounts.

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have to have their information publicly displayed.

 

Why is this idea important?

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have an annual accounts audit.

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have to make an annual return to Companies House.

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have to file annual accounts.

Remove the requirement for SME's that are largely or principally owner-managed to have to have their information publicly displayed.

 

Changes to the Landlord & Tenant Act re: Commercial properties

I sold my catering business with a new 15 years lease. I am now responsible for the rent until I am 72 years of age. If any business defaults during this time the Landlord can come back to me for the rent, his costs and depreciations.. The Act states that the Landlord should NOT be held responsible for any costs. The rent now stands at £21,000 a year. How on earth are we supposed to find the money if the person whom we sold the business to, or their successors defaults. This act has no place in the 21st century. The Federation of Small Business's have been calling for a change for years.  If I sold a leasehold flat I would not be responsible for the rent, so why Commercial properties. Our Landord deceided to do £15, 000 worth of repairs to HIS building, which I had to pay for. I had to sell the business to pay HIS bills.

This Act should be moderated so that greedy Landlords and tenants should have the same rights. It is HIS building so he should be responsible to see that it is tenanted, not the previous owners.

Why is this idea important?

I sold my catering business with a new 15 years lease. I am now responsible for the rent until I am 72 years of age. If any business defaults during this time the Landlord can come back to me for the rent, his costs and depreciations.. The Act states that the Landlord should NOT be held responsible for any costs. The rent now stands at £21,000 a year. How on earth are we supposed to find the money if the person whom we sold the business to, or their successors defaults. This act has no place in the 21st century. The Federation of Small Business's have been calling for a change for years.  If I sold a leasehold flat I would not be responsible for the rent, so why Commercial properties. Our Landord deceided to do £15, 000 worth of repairs to HIS building, which I had to pay for. I had to sell the business to pay HIS bills.

This Act should be moderated so that greedy Landlords and tenants should have the same rights. It is HIS building so he should be responsible to see that it is tenanted, not the previous owners.

Simplify and improve VAT accounting for Service Exporters

As an SME VAT accounting is a real pain – and it is huge pain without just reward.  I am a consultancy company and all my customers are overseas.  I am therefore unable to reclaim VAT incurred on my overseas expenses and for most of my non-EU customers – I dont charge VAT.  Why can I not reclaim this VAT through the normal VAT accounting process.  We should be making it easier for service exporters.

I have just spent 4 whole days working on my financial records so that I can submit my VAT return on time.  What a nonsense for the small and insignificant results.

Why not have a simplified and/or exemption process where companies like mine are always claiming rebates.  I feel like I am being penalised for being an exporter of services.

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

As an SME VAT accounting is a real pain – and it is huge pain without just reward.  I am a consultancy company and all my customers are overseas.  I am therefore unable to reclaim VAT incurred on my overseas expenses and for most of my non-EU customers – I dont charge VAT.  Why can I not reclaim this VAT through the normal VAT accounting process.  We should be making it easier for service exporters.

I have just spent 4 whole days working on my financial records so that I can submit my VAT return on time.  What a nonsense for the small and insignificant results.

Why not have a simplified and/or exemption process where companies like mine are always claiming rebates.  I feel like I am being penalised for being an exporter of services.

 

 

 

rationalising tax and tax credits, business start up red tape

I started a business in property consultancy in late 2008 which was an awful time in the Industry. Business link were very useful, but I still had to register and pay National Insurance even whilst earning nothing!  There are a host of regulations to compy with, and have to pay costs up front and claim back tax credits and allowances, but this costs vital time and money during which many business go bust. I am the only survivor in herts of my type of business because of late payments, and slow administration. tax credits were denied ebven though I was eligible, so don't waste time of this. It is ridiculous to tax businesses then have to claim back the same costs!

Why is this idea important?

I started a business in property consultancy in late 2008 which was an awful time in the Industry. Business link were very useful, but I still had to register and pay National Insurance even whilst earning nothing!  There are a host of regulations to compy with, and have to pay costs up front and claim back tax credits and allowances, but this costs vital time and money during which many business go bust. I am the only survivor in herts of my type of business because of late payments, and slow administration. tax credits were denied ebven though I was eligible, so don't waste time of this. It is ridiculous to tax businesses then have to claim back the same costs!

Charging of Statutory Interest for Late Payment to be mandatory.

Many small businesses are affected by poor payers, so much so that it has was tagged a new 'British Disease' in the 90's.  The Late Payment Act 'pill' intended to cure this disease has not worked (late payment of commercial debts (interest) act 1998).

This is a cultural problem brought about by (at least) indifference, or (at worse) corporate bullying or criminality.  

Small business needs support in backing up their rights to Statutory Interest on the debt.

By making it mandatory to pay Statutory Interest after a short interest-free opportunity has passed, this would establish punctual payment as the norm, as it is in many other countries.     

Why is this idea important?

Many small businesses are affected by poor payers, so much so that it has was tagged a new 'British Disease' in the 90's.  The Late Payment Act 'pill' intended to cure this disease has not worked (late payment of commercial debts (interest) act 1998).

This is a cultural problem brought about by (at least) indifference, or (at worse) corporate bullying or criminality.  

Small business needs support in backing up their rights to Statutory Interest on the debt.

By making it mandatory to pay Statutory Interest after a short interest-free opportunity has passed, this would establish punctual payment as the norm, as it is in many other countries.     

Remove most employment law from small businesses

Many small businesses are run by people only one step removed from being employed themselves.

I would suggest that all small businesses that employ fewer than 10 people should be exempt from all or most employment law.

Why is this idea important?

Many small businesses are run by people only one step removed from being employed themselves.

I would suggest that all small businesses that employ fewer than 10 people should be exempt from all or most employment law.

reduce paperwork in risk assessments

Currently voluntary organisations, churches and small businesses are required to spend much time and energy on producing written risk assessments for every activity they undertake.

My suggestion is to reduce the workload for every organisation which has say below 10 FTE paid staff who would not be required to do anything more than:

1. show that they had adequate public and staff liability insurance cover for their activities.

2. show on inspection  that any building or equipment they owned was in compliance with fire regulations and other H&S law to the extent that staff and public were not exposed to serious risk (against a check list of say the 50 most common types of accident resulting in personal injury and the 20 most serious types of incident likely to result in multiple fatalities)

3. never to instruct or ask staff or public to carry out any task which was evidently risky, or which they might be reluctant to do because the risk was greater than they might encounter in everyday domestic life.

Why is this idea important?

Currently voluntary organisations, churches and small businesses are required to spend much time and energy on producing written risk assessments for every activity they undertake.

My suggestion is to reduce the workload for every organisation which has say below 10 FTE paid staff who would not be required to do anything more than:

1. show that they had adequate public and staff liability insurance cover for their activities.

2. show on inspection  that any building or equipment they owned was in compliance with fire regulations and other H&S law to the extent that staff and public were not exposed to serious risk (against a check list of say the 50 most common types of accident resulting in personal injury and the 20 most serious types of incident likely to result in multiple fatalities)

3. never to instruct or ask staff or public to carry out any task which was evidently risky, or which they might be reluctant to do because the risk was greater than they might encounter in everyday domestic life.

Safety Laws in the UK

There are numerous regulations requirement the need for risk assessment and it is becoming too complicated for business managers to keep on top of

eg General, Substances, Noise, Pregnancy, Young Perons, Working at Heights, First Aid, Personal Protective Equipment, Work Equipment, Asbestos,Electricity, Water Hygiene, Manual Hnadling and VDU

The above list affects all Small businesses employing more than 5 people

Why not have one legal requirement to risk assess HAZARDS and spend the time producing clearly business guides to indicate the SAFETY expectations for offices, restaurants, hotels, petril stations, supermarkets etc etc

Your not going to dilute safety, just make it easier to understand and that is the key

ps I am a Safety Consultant  

      

Why is this idea important?

There are numerous regulations requirement the need for risk assessment and it is becoming too complicated for business managers to keep on top of

eg General, Substances, Noise, Pregnancy, Young Perons, Working at Heights, First Aid, Personal Protective Equipment, Work Equipment, Asbestos,Electricity, Water Hygiene, Manual Hnadling and VDU

The above list affects all Small businesses employing more than 5 people

Why not have one legal requirement to risk assess HAZARDS and spend the time producing clearly business guides to indicate the SAFETY expectations for offices, restaurants, hotels, petril stations, supermarkets etc etc

Your not going to dilute safety, just make it easier to understand and that is the key

ps I am a Safety Consultant  

      

Cut down statutory HR Laws

I run 2 small businesses with a total of 35 staff. HR laws have become cumbersome, expensive and quite honestly, stupid. Cut down on HR procedures and law, currently it massively favours the employee and forces me to discriminate in the first place! Make employees who submit Tribunal claims and lose pay costs – this will stop them treating it as a game.

Why is this idea important?

I run 2 small businesses with a total of 35 staff. HR laws have become cumbersome, expensive and quite honestly, stupid. Cut down on HR procedures and law, currently it massively favours the employee and forces me to discriminate in the first place! Make employees who submit Tribunal claims and lose pay costs – this will stop them treating it as a game.

Abolish abbreviated accounts for small companies

I recommend that the ability of small companies to file an abbreviated version of their accounts at Companies House should be abolished by appropriate amendments to sections 444, 449 and 450 of the Companies Act 2006.

All limited companies, including small companies, are required to produce a full set of accounts for their shareholders. Additionally however small companies are permitted by section 444 to produce a second version of their accounts, known as abbreviated accounts, for filing and public disclosure purposes. A main feature of abbreviated accounts is the omission of a profit and loss account.

The Company Law Review recommended after thorough consultation in 1998-2001 that small companies should be allowed to produce accounts with simplified format and content, and that in consequence the ability to file an abbreviated version of such accounts for public disclosure should be abolished as being no longer necessary or desirable. Ministers ignored the latter part of this recommendation, and abbreviated accounts continued to permitted under the new Companies Act 2006.

In the last 10 years the size criteria for small companies have been greatly increased, so that today companies with substantial assets or turnover can benefit from the small company provisions of the Companies Act. The only purpose of filing abbreviated accounts, in place of the full accounts circulated to shareholders, is concealment of the financial state of the company from third parties. This is contrary to the public interest. Companies which meet the small company criteria may supply services and products to the general public on a substantial scale, particularly in this internet age, and should not be permitted to conceal their financial condition. Furthermore, such companies may have other small companies as their suppliers, who are put at risk by not being able to check the financial condition of their customers quickly and cheaply at Companies House.

Abolition of abbreviated accounts would not increase the regulatory burden on small companies. If anything, it would reduce the burden by restricting the production of accounts by such companies to a single version rather than two versions.

Why is this idea important?

I recommend that the ability of small companies to file an abbreviated version of their accounts at Companies House should be abolished by appropriate amendments to sections 444, 449 and 450 of the Companies Act 2006.

All limited companies, including small companies, are required to produce a full set of accounts for their shareholders. Additionally however small companies are permitted by section 444 to produce a second version of their accounts, known as abbreviated accounts, for filing and public disclosure purposes. A main feature of abbreviated accounts is the omission of a profit and loss account.

The Company Law Review recommended after thorough consultation in 1998-2001 that small companies should be allowed to produce accounts with simplified format and content, and that in consequence the ability to file an abbreviated version of such accounts for public disclosure should be abolished as being no longer necessary or desirable. Ministers ignored the latter part of this recommendation, and abbreviated accounts continued to permitted under the new Companies Act 2006.

In the last 10 years the size criteria for small companies have been greatly increased, so that today companies with substantial assets or turnover can benefit from the small company provisions of the Companies Act. The only purpose of filing abbreviated accounts, in place of the full accounts circulated to shareholders, is concealment of the financial state of the company from third parties. This is contrary to the public interest. Companies which meet the small company criteria may supply services and products to the general public on a substantial scale, particularly in this internet age, and should not be permitted to conceal their financial condition. Furthermore, such companies may have other small companies as their suppliers, who are put at risk by not being able to check the financial condition of their customers quickly and cheaply at Companies House.

Abolition of abbreviated accounts would not increase the regulatory burden on small companies. If anything, it would reduce the burden by restricting the production of accounts by such companies to a single version rather than two versions.

small business bad debtors.

at present the judge awards the judgement to the business possably months after the case went to court,simply the defendant just ignors the court order this has already cost the business to put the claim to court . unfortunatly it is treated in court as a dispute and not theft of the businsses goods and labour. sadly there is no real enforcement of the law and they get away with not paying . assuming the dispute may be defened with apack of false stories the out come can still be the same . my idea would be to put up a bond to the court prior to the hearing for the disputed amount and thats used to pay the judgement even after an appeal. this could be collected by bailliffs if necessary.we desperatly need this poor and outdated system reviewed.

Why is this idea important?

at present the judge awards the judgement to the business possably months after the case went to court,simply the defendant just ignors the court order this has already cost the business to put the claim to court . unfortunatly it is treated in court as a dispute and not theft of the businsses goods and labour. sadly there is no real enforcement of the law and they get away with not paying . assuming the dispute may be defened with apack of false stories the out come can still be the same . my idea would be to put up a bond to the court prior to the hearing for the disputed amount and thats used to pay the judgement even after an appeal. this could be collected by bailliffs if necessary.we desperatly need this poor and outdated system reviewed.

Removal of RoHS and WEEE legislation

Both RoHS and WEEE legislation should be removed: they are a huge impediment to small businesses introducing any sort of electronic product. They are the product of a combination of mis-guided 'green' thnking and large business who are keen to supress innovation by smaller, more nimble operations.

The green product is the quality one that lasts for a long time!

Why is this idea important?

Both RoHS and WEEE legislation should be removed: they are a huge impediment to small businesses introducing any sort of electronic product. They are the product of a combination of mis-guided 'green' thnking and large business who are keen to supress innovation by smaller, more nimble operations.

The green product is the quality one that lasts for a long time!

European Directives which impact on SMEs

 

To create a Small Business European Task Force to ensure legislation which could impact on SMEs is effectively monitored and engaged with from the outset.

Why is this idea important?

 

To create a Small Business European Task Force to ensure legislation which could impact on SMEs is effectively monitored and engaged with from the outset.