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Review of the Supplier Development Programme


The report presents the findings of a review of the Supplier Development Programme (SDP), a programme which aims to support SMEs and third sector organisations become more informed, aware and capable of tendering for public sector contracts in Scotland, the UK, and further afield. The overall objective of the SDP is for more Scottish businesses to win contracts, grow their business, and thereby support the local and national economy.


The review consisted of the following elements: a desk-based review of information and data; consultations with key partners and stakeholders; an online survey of SDP customers; and a feedback workshop with members of the SDP Board.


The review found that 80% of SDP clients who had accessed services reported that their expectations had been met or exceeded. Around three-quarters rated the SDP events as good or very good, and a similar proportion rated the webinars and online resources the same. 84% indicated that the programme had increased their understanding of the tendering process, while 76% reported that it had increased the quality of their tender submissions. Overall, the customer survey element of the review suggests that the programme is having a positive effect, despite limited evidence reported directly from clients, and is ‘likely’ delivering against the national and local economic development agenda/priorities. The review also found that in terms of the programme specification, the core support offering of the SDP appears to be well positioned in terms of the levels targeted, the mechanisms for service delivery and engagement, and the breakdown/content of support. Marketing of the programme was also found to have been effective, alongside its updated management and governance structures. The review notes feedback that the website has notably improved its accessibility and functionality since its relaunch in June 2015. It was found that the level of engagement and partnership working between the SDP and member local authorities is varied, however there have been some strong partnerships developed with local authority partners that have resulted in the delivery of several partner events.


The review makes a number of recommendations, including that: the SDP and/or partners should collect registration data for partner events and consider other methods for gathering client satisfaction feedback from both direct training events and partner events; the SDP should design, develop and implement a more robust monitoring and evaluation framework; the SDP should continue to develop the content of its webinars and promote them more widely, particularly within rural areas and amongst associate members; the SDP should continue to develop its website, and consider opportunities for hosting additional material from direct and partner events; the SDP Board should discuss whether the current governance model remains fit for purpose or if there is scope for streamlining; the SDP should review the potential demand, benefits and feasibility of adopting the Grow Local tool as part of its service offering, including funding for the platform; and the SDP should review partnerships and linkages/synergy with other bodies in the procurement and economic development landscape and identify opportunities for greater engagement and collaboration.

Author EKOS
Published Year 2016
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses