How Public Procurement Review Service helps suppliers raise concerns about public sector buying and payment

Reaffirming commitment to support small businesses and start-ups through procurement activity, Small Business Crown Representative, Martin Traynor OBE, highlights the work of the Public Procurement Review Service.

Public Procurement Review Service

What is the Public Procurement Review Service?

The Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS) provides bidders for government and English public sector contracts a free-to-use route to anonymously raise concerns they may have about contracting exercises. Any supplier may use the service, but small- and medium-sized companies, along with the voluntary, charitable, and social enterprise sector, are encouraged to engage with PPRS if they have any concerns.

What does the Public Procurement Review Service cover?

The PPRS team welcomes enquiries from suppliers who:

  • have concerns about the conduct of a procurement process
  • feel they might have been treated unfairly during a bid
  • feel they have been dealt with in a way that falls short of government policy
  • have not been paid within 30 calendar days, or any earlier payment date, as stated in the contract terms

Crucially, these referrals may be made anonymously to protect ongoing commercial relationships. The team will investigate the concerns raised and will work with public bodies and suppliers to resolve procurement issues. The team’s interventions can often lead to live procurements being adjusted. More importantly, they are keen to learn the lessons to improve the delivery of future procurement.

When was the Public Procurement Review Service founded?

Previously known as the Mystery Shopper service, PPRS has been operating since 2011 and has investigated over 1,750 referrals. Highlights include:

  • Helping suppliers reclaim £7.3 million from over 328 late payment cases reported to the service. Had a 100% success rate of releasing payments on undisputed invoices.
  • From April 2019 to date, 100% cases have resulted in a positive outcome - this includes recommendations being accepted, areas identified to improve future procurement practice, and cases where the complaint was not upheld and PPRS was able to offer advice to the supplier to help them understand what has happened and why.
  • The team has also been nominated for a prestigious civil service award for Customer Service Excellence.

Find out more about PPRS’s scope and remit on with details of how to make a referral.

About the author

Small Business Crown Representative Martin Traynor OBE comes from a business background, with much of his early career spent in the hospitality sector, managing various hotels across the UK. He then spent 14 years as Group Chief Executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce (including the Business Link service). In recent years, Martin moved to a portfolio career where he is now a Non-Executive Chairman of three leisure businesses, Deputy Chairman of a large teaching hospital trust, and has just completed two three-year terms on the government’s Regulatory Policy Committee.

See also

How small businesses can win public sector contracts

Five key challenges facing SMEs in 2020

Find out more

Scope and remit of the Public Procurement Review Service (

Public Procurement Review Service 2019 (

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 7 February 2020