Name offending councils, firms are urged

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Small businesses in Lancashire are being encouraged to name and shame public sector organisations that treat them unfairly.

A new report shows that late payment and unfair or overly bureaucratic processes are the big issues for small firms bidding for or working on public sector contracts. The government’s Mystery Shopper service has dealt with 24 complaints about organisations in the North West since it was set up in February 2011, and made recommendations for improvements in two thirds of cases.

Businesses can either email mysteryshopper@ccs.gsi.gov.uk anonymously or use the new @GovMysteryShop Twitter handle to find out more about the service, and how they can report concerns about the way the public sector buys goods or services, or works with suppliers.

The Mystery Shopper team carries out daily spot checks on public sector procurement, and will also tweet case outcomes and general findings from spot checks on public sector contracts.

The government is also planning to introduce major procurement legislation to tackle the issue later in the year.

The report shows that 86 per cent of the concerns raised through the Mystery Shopper scheme are from small and medium-sized enterprises