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Businesses in the North West told that innovation is the key to winning lucrative contracts with the public sector

Ambitious companies in the North West have been urged to increase their focus on public sector contracts to grow their businesses.

Representatives of over 40 firms who attended a supplier engagement event organised by Salford City Council, in conjunction with Bloom Procurement Services, learned that those companies who can innovate to meet the needs of public sector clients, would reap the rewards of substantial contracts.

There are a plethora of high value contracts continually being placed for tender and public sector bodies such as Salford City Council are very keen to open up discussions with companies. While the financial climate remains challenging, there are some great contracts to be won and those firms that can demonstrate true innovation in their response to tenders, will have most to gain. At the supplier engagement event, Bloom provided insight into its procurement model and practical tips on how to win public sector contracts locally and nationally.

Mia Wight, public sector account manager at BrightBox Group, an accredited Bloom supplier based in Manchester, attended and said afterwards: “Having recently joined Bloom, it was great to hear from all the speakers at Salford City Council. It was very informative, with some top-quality speakers and it was also very interesting to gauge the thoughts of other SMEs in attendance who were keen to break into the public sector. We’ve had a very positive start working with Bloom, there are exciting opportunities ahead in the ICT category, and we’re always exploring new ways of delivering outcome-based solutions, which fits well with Bloom.”

Formed in 2012, Bloom provides a fully compliant end-to-end marketplace solution for the procurement, contract management and payment of all consultancy and professional services. The company is the exclusive operator of the multi-million-pound NEPRO professional services solution on behalf of NEPO (the North East Procurement Organisation). Bloom has recently been appointed by NEPO as delivery partner to the third evolution of solution (NEPRO³) for up to a further eight years.

Hamish Keltie, head of client services at Bloom, said: “While spending across the public sector has been in decline for the best part of a decade, this has not resulted in a reluctance from the thousands of public sector bodies across the UK to engage with the private sector. Indeed, the reverse is true. They recognise that procurement models such as our own, which is exclusively aimed at professional services providers and which consistently saves hard-hit public sector buyers between 11% and 19% against budget, are the way forward and more and more are engaging with us all of the time.”

NEPRO was set up to help the public sector buy and manage professional services spend whilst achieving better outcomes and improving value. Specialising in bringing together buyers and suppliers, Bloom has a large network of suppliers registered, allowing them access to opportunities across over 360 public sector organisations. Already, the company has successfully completed 4,500 projects from very small to multi-million-pound opportunities across the public sector, including local authorities, hospitals, emergency services and education bodies.

Martin Connolly, head of client on-boarding and supplier engagement at Bloom Procurement, said: “We are committed to driving innovation and social value throughout the Bloom marketplace and opening up fantastic opportunities to SME suppliers is integral to this. To date, 70% of projects have been delivered by SMEs which enables the public sector to drive significant growth back into local economies and we’ve seen that SMEs can be both agile and innovative to get the right outcomes at the right cost.

“Registering with Bloom can be done in as little as twenty minutes and suppliers get access to lots of resources on how to do business in the Bloom marketplace. They gain access to opportunities with over 360 public sector bodies across the UK, Salford City Council being one example. For suppliers, it’s a great chance to break into public procurement with public sector bodies who have the ability to award to them directly via Bloom if needed, or drive value through competition.”