Council re-think on local contracts

Angus Councillor Paul Valentine.
Angus Councillor Paul Valentine.

Angus Council is reviewing how it does business with local suppliers to see how more contracts can be awarded to local companies.

Councillor Paul Valentine, depute leader of the council, is the chairman of the authority’s recently formed Procurement Sounding Board.

It has been set up to ensure Angus Council uses its purchasing power to deliver the most benefit for Angus’s communities and its economy, whilst remaining within the strict rules governing public sector buying.

Councillor Valentine said: “The council is the county’s largest single employer and with a multi-million pound service budget we’ve got significant spending power.

“Like every other public sector body we are bound by very strict procurement rules but, working within these rules, we want to ensure that local companies have the opportunity and the skills to compete for what is a broad range of contracts.

“The new procurement board has been set up to build on the significant work that Angus Council is already doing though our procurement officers, business advisers and the local supplier network.

“We need to find out what the impact of that work has been to date, to inform what we do next.

“We need to take account of the advantages of buying local in relation to our carbon footprint and we’re particularly keen to explore the potential for social enterprise in our communities.”

The move has been welcomed by Forfar businessman Ally Leuchars of Forfar Removals.

In February he criticised the council’s tendering process after losing out on a council contract to a London-based company with a Glasgow depot - to save the council £284.

Commenting on the review he said: “As a local employer, who appreciates any and all work offered to us by Angus Council, it is most encouraging, as I am sure it will be to all employers, to see the course the council is taking to assist local businesses.

“For a vibrant and successful Angus we all have a role to play, be it individuals, Angus Council, small local and national businesses. Hopefully, with the steps the council is proposing, we can all look forward to creating further employment within Angus.”

The council’s procurement and economic development officers are now co-ordinating their engagement with local business groups; offering combined presentations about business development support and how better to do procurement business with the council.

Angus Council’s programme of procurement supplier development events is published on the Tayside Procurement Consortium website. The council’s own website gives businesses more information about its procurement and business advice arrangements.

Any local business group wanting more information about this support should contact Mark Allan, corporate procurement manager ( / 01307 476195) or senior business adviser Roy Johnston ( / 01307 473358.

The work plan agreed by the Procurement Sounding Board for 2013–15 includes establishing baseline information about ‘buying local’ (Angus and Tayside) activity; maximising opportunities for local businesses; ensuring procurement is sustainable, green and supportive of social enterprise; and the delivery of an annual local supplier support programme.