The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), the body responsible for all maintenance and property services on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) estate, has published an online directory to help more small and medium-sized grounds maintenance and landscaping firms win MoD contracts.
The Potential Bidder Directory, available through the MoD website, lists all the major firms that have submitted expressions of interest as potential main contractors for the organisation's Next Generation Estate Contracts (NGEC) programme.
Under the NGEC, the MoD is looking for single contractors to fulfil a series of four-year regional framework agreements and national contracts and is encouraging small and medium-sized businesses to fight for their share of the business by communicating with potential bidders to secure subcontractor status.
With the deadline for expressions of interest in the national and regional contracts now closed, the DIO hopes to appoint prime contractors in early 2013.
Head of the NGEC programme Steve Rice said: "We want to support smaller businesses in identifying and researching supply chain opportunities and the online NGEC Potential Bidder Directory is one way in which we hope to achieve this."
The contract portfolio comprises four regional contracts for facilities management, one national and six regional frameworks for construction projects, a national housing contract and a new contract for the defence training estate.
The regional frameworks are broken down into: Scotland; the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber; the West Midlands and Wales; the East of England and East Midlands; the South East including London; and the South West.
Yvette Etcell, director of business development at grounds maintenance firm Gavin Jones, suggested that the NGEC could be an opportunity for the sector and the new directory would create more clarity in the market. "It could create opportunities for some great contract partnerships for some of the smaller organisations."
But she added: "Small businesses could struggle because they may not have the resources to satisfy the health and safety standards and related documentation required by the MoD."
Defence Contracts Bulletin: Online listings of latest MoD contract opportunities.
Potential Bidder Directory: Online list of firms interested in future major MoD contracts.
Defence Infrastructure Organisation: New body that replaced Defence Estates on 1 April, responsible for managing MoD estate and delivering £1.2bn in savings in its first four years.
Next Generation Estate Contracts: New portfolio of contracts for UK defence estate from 2013.
All information available at www.mod.uk