Small charities face more barriers accessing government contracts, research finds

Smaller charities and social enterprises face more barriers than their larger counterparts in accessing government contracts, research has found.

A report published by the Social Investment Business found that the bidding process for government contracts is also considered “burdensome”.

The report, Scoping a new approach to social value through social investment, conducted interviews with eight organisations of different sizes, ages and locations from its portfolio to look at their experience of public procurement and understand how social investment could be better utilised to support the social value agenda.

The report said that the current bidding process is “burdensome, bureaucratic and resource-intensive – which could be off-putting for smaller charities and social enterprises”.
One of the biggest issues for smaller charities is the “lack of capacity and confidence in writing bids and responding to multiple tenders”.

The report also found that most available contracts are low-value and short-term, with some forcing charities into subcontracting relationships.

It said: “For the most part, there simply aren’t the range of contracts available to help organisations grow through delivering public services. Our analysis of national contracting data shows that commissioning is not graduated. Rather, there are large numbers of very small contracting opportunities and many large-value contracts but few that could be classed as supporting growth by allowing for capacity development at a reasonable pace.”

To read the full report, click here

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