Headlines: January 5th, 2006

New figures show that by the end of the year more than a billion pounds worth of Welsh public sector contracts had been made available to businesses across Wales electronically. Value Wales announced that the contracts had been offered online through the National Procurement Website that was set up to help smaller companies win more public sector business.The website enables businesses to search and view high and low value contract opportunities that are advertised by public sector bodies throughout Wales. It has now been used by 56 public sector organisations to advertise their contracts. An average of 78 million pounds worth of new work is published on line each month.mailto:ops@publicnet.co.uk  The site, which is free to use, also provides businesses with access to adverts from other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe. The site was developed by the Welsh Assembly Government in partnership with the Welsh Development Agency and, when it was launched in 2003, was the first nation-wide online contract advertisement database, driven by the public sector, and the first to provide automated email notifications for users.

Welsh Assembly Finance Minister Sue Essex welcomed the billion pound milestone and said that by working together, the public sector was helping to make the business sector in Wales a real success. This was echoed by Andrew Davies, the Minister for Economic Development and Transport, who said, “The public sector in Wales spends some 4 billion pounds each year on procurement. The National Procurement Website is an excellent example of Value Wales’ continuing work to remove barriers between the public sector and SMEs.