Merton Council has been declared ‘small business friendly’ after winning an award for a new purchasing system which makes it much easier for local companies to bid for contracts.
The Small Business Friendly Borough Awards is run by London Councils, which represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London, and the London region of the Federation of Small Businesses.
It gives councils recognition for effective and imaginative schemes that encourage local entrepreneurship.
Merton Council won the ‘Best small business friendly procurement to support local trade’ award for a new system which helps smaller taxi firms by making it easier to bid for its private taxi service for children with Special Education Needs and vulnerable adults.
It means the council notched a hat trick in the awards, having previously won ‘Best Programme of Support for Small Businesses’ and ‘Best All Round Small Business Friendly Borough’.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Leader of the Council, said: “We have long recognised that small businesses play a crucial role in Merton’s local economy and we are determined to make it as easy as possible for them to work with the council.
“We’re delighted to have won this award for our new procurement system which has brought many benefits, both for small businesses and for the council.”
The contracts for these taxi services used to be tendered for in a way that favoured larger companies. Merton Council brought in a new online purchasing system that enables any suitably qualified taxi company to compete at any time. It will also make it easier for businesses to be paid.
Cllr Peter John, London Councils’ Executive member for Business, Skills and Brexit, said: “This year’s awards saw a record number of nominations and the variety and scope of this year’s winners demonstrates that the relationship between small businesses and councils in London remains positive.”