Efforts to meet the Cabinet Office target to place one third of government procurement budgets with small and medium-sized firms by 2020 have lost momentum, according to a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report. The PAC recognises that some progress was made towards increasing public procurement from smaller firms between 2010 and 2015. However, it concludes that it cannot be certain whether such firms’ ability to compete with larger providers improved or their share of government business increased during this period.
Commenting on the report, PAC Chair Meg Hillier MP warned of a real risk that the Cabinet Office target will not be met without new and concerted action. Ms Hillier also described the PAC as sceptical about how much progress has been made towards the target, adding that changes to reporting methods have made it impossible to properly assess performance. This echoes the findings of the National Audit Office, which published its own progress report in March 2016.