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Information for SMEs

Our working relationship with SMEs is vital in delivering a safe, reliable and innovative railway for our customers.

Since 2015/16 we have increased the proportion of our total expenditure spent with SMEs from 15.5% to 35.6%. This is ahead of plan and on-track to meet the target but with every year this becomes increasingly more difficult to achieve. That is why we’ve published our SME action plan on Tuesday 5 November 2019 to focus on what we must do to make ourselves ‘easier to do business with’.

More information can be found in our SME Action Plan section below.

SME Action Plan

We have launched our SME Action Plan to improve our working relationship with SMEs.

Our engagement with SME suppliers through focus groups and feedback from industry associations has made it clear that we are not always easy to work with.  The SME Action Plan responds to these insights and puts in place new working practices that will make a positive difference for SMEs.

Areas of improvement

The SME Action Plan sets out the issues raised by SMEs and the changes we will make by agreed timescales to ensure we make it as easy as possible to do business with us.

It focusses on six areas of improvement:

  1. Engagement
  2. Pre-procurement
  3. Procurement
  4. Contract management
  5. Supplier management
  6. Innovation.

Further details can of each action can be found in the SME Action Plan (818 KB, PDF).

Supplementary SME Action Plan

Our Supplementary SME Action Plan invites our tier 1 suppliers to put in place a range of actions which we believe will help our SME community to thrive. Delivering these initiatives together will help us increase the overall proportion of expenditure we spend with our SMEs and help deliver the government’s Industrial Strategy and Rail Sector Deal.

Further details of each action can be found in the Supplementary SME Action Plan (752 KB PDF).

The Pitch Platform

The Pitch Platform is a new initiative to encourage suppliers to pitch their innovative products and services to key stakeholders across the organisation. In a Dragon’s Den style approach, successful entrants can benefit from specialist support and/or funding to develop their ideas for the railway and fast-track the procurement process.

Find out more about Pitch Platform.


Get in touch

Please do not hesitate to contact our SME Champions if you have any questions:

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