Inquiry into commissioning and contracting Small providers – Inclusion London’s evidence

Read our practical recommendations to increase the contracting of small providers (e.g DDPOs)

Inclusion London’s evidence was informed by the experience of our network of 90 Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations, (DDPOs) including the ‘Making it Work Employment and Skills Consortium’ which brings together nine Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations, which provide employment support.

Inclusion London submitted written evidence to the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry into commissioning and contracting Small providers.

Our evidence highlighted that many Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) are ‘small providers’, which give ‘added value’ because they are locally based and have a good understanding of the local area and Deaf and Disabled people’s needs.    Also DDPOs are a valuable source of employment for Disabled people.     Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) are ‘user led’ i.e. the organisations are fully run and controlled by Deaf and Disabled people.


The evidence gave a summary of different types of difficulties experienced by small, local DDPOs, which can prevent them from bidding or winning public sector contracts, such as:

  • Contracts are in ‘bundles’ of different types of service, while DDPOs may only provide one relevant type of service
  • The time frames for tendering a bid are too short to enable a partnership or consortia to be formed so a joint bid can be made.
  • Contracts are too large, beyond the capacity of small providers.
  • Difficulty competing with large organisations.
  • Contracts can be over prescriptive
  • Lack of publicity of tendering opportunities.



Inclusion London’s recommendations are:

Recommendation 1: Contracts do not contain several different types of services.

Recommendation 2:  There is a minimum of 6 weeks given to bid for public sector contracts.

Recommendation 3:  The size of contracts commissioned by the public sector includes smaller contracts e.g. from £50,000 – £300,000.

Recommendation 4:   Contract specifications recognise the added value of user led locally based organisations.

Recommendation 5: Contracts are not over prescriptive regarding the model of service.

Recommendation 6:  That opportunities to bid for contracts are well publicised.

Recommendation 7:

To help support the commissioning of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations, which are small service providers, we recommend that Government ensures the following are implemented at local level:

  • The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012
  • Article 19 of the Procurement Directive 2004/18/EC
  • The Compact agreement[1] guidelines regarding commissioning.


Inclusion London’s full response is available to download below. 

Inclusion London’s evidence Commissioning & Contracting Small Providers Inquiry (Final)