The Department of Health has awarded a contract that could be worth up to £30m to a UK based SME, Methods Consulting, to provide the NHS with an electronic recruitment service. 

Methods will be charged with providing a web based portal with functionality to permit access through a variety of current and future web enabled devices. 

It will deliver the necessary hardware and software to provide services that will enable the NHS to advertise healthcare related job opportunities, schedule interviews, track applications for applicants, process applications, interface with the electronic staff record, interface with Job Centre Plus and conduct market review and analysis. 

The contract is estimated to be worth between £5m and £30m, according to an online award notice, which will contribute significantly to the SME’s revenues, which at the end of April 2011 stood at £35m. 

The coalition government has been pushing in recent months for public sector contracts to be given to SMEs. This agenda has been showcased in the government’s cloud project, CloudStore, where many of the 250 plus suppliers are SMEs, including Methods. 

Anthony Miller, managing partner at analyst firm Tech Market View, met with Methods in December last year and agrees that while it is impressive that as an SME it is signing large government contracts, he doubts this deal will reach the £30m quoted in the tender. 

“Methods are very much an SME, and when I met with them last year, I was quite impressed by how they have managed to dig themselves quite a nice little trench in the public sector doing quite high level work, which is unusual for SMEs, who tend to play second fiddle to the large system integrators,” said Miller. 

“I suspect they have managed to get themselves into this favourable position because they have been around for over 20 years and spent a lot of time developing strong relationships with government,” he added. 

“However, if the contract reaches £30m, it would be huge for Methods, considering their revenue is only £35m. It is more likely it will be nearer the lower estimates, as even this would be a significant chunk for them”.