Government contracts to be more transparent

The Paymaster General Francis Maude has promised more transparency over government contracts boosting SME chances of landing government business

The Paymaster General Francis Maude has defended the government's track record on opening up contracts to smaller suppliers countering criticism from the Public Accounts Committee over its track record on outsourcing deals.

The Committee was focusing on problems that the government has had managing large outsourcing deals with the like of Serco and G4S for security services criticising the lack of openness around the way the contracts gad been struck.

"Private provision of public services has become big business, with half of all public spending on goods and services going to private providers of contracted-out services. We believe government needs to urgently get its house in order so that this expenditure is properly open to public scrutiny, and that measures are put in place which will improve services and secure a better deal for the taxpayer," said Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the public accounts committee.

Taking to the BBC airwaves this morning Maude said agreed that there needed to be more openness and said that it had made a lot of progress in the last four years but there was more that needed to be done.

"The most competitive provider can be a new dynamic innovative supplier and it is absolutely right that the way that things were previously being done smaller suppliers were almost deliberately excluded [are changing]," he told the Today programme.

He said that contracts were now broken up into smaller lots making it easier for smaller suppliers to get a slice of the action: "We are delivering much more of these services through smaller suppliers and creating new suppliers."

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