Headlines: September 9th, 2005

Work is set to begin on a new website to help small businesses find out about the smaller public sector contracts that are available for them to bid for. It is hoped the site will be launched before the end of the year.The site, to be called the new National Opportunities Portal, is part of the Supplier Route to Government project which is being run by the Small Business Service and the Office of Government Commerce.

The aim is for the portal to become the established way of procuring Government contracts worth les than a hundred thousand pounds. Current plans are for basic access to the National Opportunities web portal to be free. The site will have a range of opportunities in a single place and will provide access to a wider range of goods and services from suppliers to help achieve value for money.

The Supplier Route to Government project was established to meet one of the recommendations of the 2003 report of the Better Regulation Task Force, which wanted to see fewer barriers facing businesses that want to become involved in public procurement. Work on the new website will begin this month, with testing scheduled for the latter part of the year.

During the development work the Small Business Service will share its ideas and plans with suppliers and buyers and, to demonstrate what the service will offer and the value it will bring, there will be an awareness campaign. Buyers and suppliers can also register their interest so they can be kept up to date with developments.