Agenda item

Covid 19 Development Projects - Local Business Suppliers / Procurement Strategy and Rules

Environment and Technical Portfolio Holder. To receive a report (C-045-2020-21) on the renewal of the current procurement strategy.



(1)        The Cabinet agreed the updated Procurement Strategy for 2021 – 26 which supported the Council objectives under Covid-19 Development Projects to become effective from 01 January 2021; and


(2)        Agreed the updated Procurement Rules, that would come into effect from 01 January 2021.




The Environmental and Technical Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor N Avey, introduced the report on the rules and strategy for local business suppliers.


The current Procurement Strategy was required to be renewed from January 2021, and as such an updated version was required. The strategy had been updated to reflect how Procurement could support the delivery of the Council’s Corporate Objectives and Covid-19 recovery plan.


The Procurement Rules had been in effect since April 2018 and required an update to support the Council’s new Procurement Strategy, and to ensure that the rules were aligned with the Strategy and help the Council to achieve its objectives. The Council was making changes to its approach to procurement, to recognise the broader economic and well-being impact of existing local businesses and attract new businesses to the District. The new procurement strategy and rules required a minimum of two local suppliers to be invited to tender wherever possible and a commitment to make faster payments to local suppliers (21 days instead of the mandatory 30).


The new procurement strategy included the use of Social Value, to enable bidders to be explicit in the provision of local job opportunities, apprenticeships and community benefits as part of their tender. A Sustainability-focused evaluation criteria had also been developed when assessing tenders to maximise the benefit to the District and its local businesses and communities.


Training and guidance were being developed to help contracting officers in procuring and managing contracts. This would include templates, checklists, examples of good practice and suggested structures for supplier meetings to ensure they were performing to the agreed standards set out when the contract was entered into, and that the Council got maximum value and benefit.


Councillor Philip welcomed the report as it made of lot of sense. Encouraging businesses in the district had to be the right thing to do.


Councillor Jon Whitehouse asked about the relationship on procuring from local companies and the use of framework agreements.  A lot of local companies did not join framework agreements. How did we get sufficient local companies if they were not part of our framework? And, was Qualis classed as one of these companies or was it classed as an in-house service. He was told that big companies would apply but we would prefer to use local sub-contractors. We were members of bigger frameworks and also a national one. Using frameworks saved a lot of time. The benefits were that the timescales were quicker. There was a section in the rules about not using a framework for local suppliers.


As for the use of Qualis and were they identified as an in-house service? The meeting was advised that if Qualis was undertaking commercial activities then it was outside of public sector procurement rules. Officers would be looking for best value and Qualis being a subsidiary but independent company we would not automatically go with them unless it was advantageous to us.


Councillor Patel asked what provision or considerations were made from a health perspective, such as encouraging a business to become dementia friendly. He was told that would be down to individual contracts; something that we would want to consider at the contract phase. Councillor Patel asked what assurances could be given about this criteria. He was told this came down to the training of contract officers and their increased awareness of social value.


Councillor Heap asked when the 21 day payment was from; was it from when the invoice was received. He suggested that a benefit multiplier could be used to assess the social value of the money spent locally. He was told that yes it was when the invoice was received. It was the intention to keep the money spend local. Officers would investigate using a benefit multiplier.





(1)        The Cabinet agreed the updated Procurement Strategy for 2021–26 which supported the Council objectives under Covid-19 Development Projects to become effective from 01 January 2021; and


(2)        Agreed the updated Procurement Rules, that would come into effect from 01 January 2021.


Reasons for Proposed Decision:


To update the current Procurement Strategy and accompanying Procurement Rules in line with current best practice and use the opportunity to incorporate Covid-19 Development Project aims.


Other Options for Action:


To let the Strategy expire and not replace it, this would mean there was no high-level strategic direction to the Council’s purchasing and would drastically reduce the likelihood of achieving value for money and providing good quality services to our residents.


To leave the Procurement Rules as they were, this would not be a viable option as the rules would not be in alignment with our Corporate Objectives and Covid-19 recovery plan, thus making the achievement of those objectives much more difficult.




Supporting documents: