A delay in the Business Gateway (BG) procurement and tendering process has been recommended by the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee in its report on Business Gateway contract renewals published today.
The recommendation was one of a number the Committee made after its short inquiry into views of BG users and providers regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the service. The intention was for the report to feed into the imminent BG contract renewal process being carried out by COSLA.
"While we welcome the many successes of the BG service, there is a lot of room for improvement."
John Wilson MSPThe Committee suggests that COSLA defer the tender process until it has conducted a more through consultation with businesses, social enterprises and first hand users. It is only by listening to their vital input that the process will be improved.
Deputy Committee Convener John Wilson MSP said: "Small and medium-sized business are the backbone of our economy. It is only by supporting them that we will turn our economy around.
"While we welcome the many successes of the BG service, there is a lot of room for improvement. BG must slim down on its bureaucracy and focus on direct support to its clients.
"We were particularly concerned by the disparity in reported customer satisfaction rates between the Federation for Small Business and the BG national unit, as they cannot both be right.
"Equally, the BG Scotland Board and COSLA must pay attention to the variations both in performance against targets and client experience across Scotland in order to bring every BG service up to best standard.
"The Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism has an important role to play in overseeing the transition to a leaner, fitter, ambitious organisation with business growth at its heart. We’ll be asking for regular updates on his progress."