Norfolk county council has started publishing all of its contract tenders on Twitter.
The council, which believes it is one of the first councils in the country to tweet tender opportunities, has taken to the microblogging site in effort to make it easier for local businesses to bid for council contracts.
The @NCCContracts account, which went live earlier this month, will be promoted to any businesses that are among the council's over 5,500 corporate Twitter account followers.
Norfolk kicked off the initiative by recently tweeting 18 contracts for passenger transport services.
The council's communications department will look after the new Twitter account, working with the procurement team to get the latest information.
Derrick Murphy, leader of Norfolk county council, told Guardian Government Computing that using social networks could help to cut down on the amount of paperwork that goes between councils and suppliers. He said that the response from firms so far had been positive, with a number of businesses saying the use of online tools such as Twitter was "long overdue".
The council's plans tie in with central government's drive to encourage SMEs to bid for public sector contracts, according to Murphy. "We're in a recession, and in these austere times SMEs are going to help get us out [of it]," he said.
As well as its Twitter initiative, Norfolk has also decided to speed up its procurement process by abolishing pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQ) for contracts valued at under £100,000, which it says can put some suppliers off.
It will also look at, where possible, using the same "speedier process" for some contracts valued at more than £100,000.
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
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