55 local firms won contracts last year
34% of contracts awarded to local companies, well above the national average of 21%
Argyll and Bute Council is expanding its hugely successful programme of assistance to local businesses, helping them win council contracts and boosting the economy.
The existing supplier development programme, introduced in Argyll and Bute in 2013, provides a range of free tender training workshops for those interested in bidding for public contracts.
The procurement team already support businesses in a variety of ways:
· There is a dedicated section of the council website providing information on procurement which contains lots of helpful information, from FAQs to supplier guides: http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/business-and-trade/selling-council
· Local suppliers are given free membership of the national supplier development programme where they can access advice in the form of local training events or online webinars
· All published tender documents provide contact details for the Business Gateway team, which offers specific assistance in completing tender documents
· Project specific ‘Meet the Buyer’ events are held throughout the council area in the run up to the publication of major contracts, such as the upcoming ones for the Queen’s Hall and Rothesay Pavilion regeneration projects
· Once contracts are awarded the information is published on the national procurement portal as quickly as possible to give local sub-contractors the best chance of sharing in the value of the contract
· Community benefit clauses are introduced into large contracts, wherever possible, which require the contractor to offer sub-contracting opportunities to local businesses and provide training opportunities to local young people
To date the council has invited over 2,000 local suppliers to join the programme; as of June this year 115 have registered.
To build on this good work and create even more opportunities for local businesses the council’s Policy and Resources Committee agreed today (Thursday 29th October) to expand the programme.
New initiatives include hosting quarterly procurement surgeries across the council area, in Helensburgh, Rothesay, Oban, Lochgilphead, Campbeltown and Dunoon as well as continued promotion of the supplier development programme.
Encouraging local business people to take advantage of the advice and support on offer, the council’s Policy Lead for Customer Support Services (the service area in which the procurement team sits), Councillor Dick Walsh, said: ‘’Our expert procurement officers can provide a whole host of useful information which can help local people navigate the often tricky public sector procurement path.
‘’There is an impression across the country that public sector contracts can only be won by big, national companies which employ their own procurement experts to fill in the forms, but that simply isn’t true. We awarded over a third of contracts to local companies last year; well above the national average of around one-fifth.
‘’Much of the success for local business comes on the back of the support offered by the council. We have a strong track record of engagement with the local business base and are committed to working even harder to make sure it is armed with the knowledge and expertise to make competent tender submissions for council contracts.
‘’Our main focus is on boosting the local economy and procurement is a key arm in our wider growth strategy.
‘’We would encourage any local businesses interested in securing public sector contracts to get in touch with our procurement team, join the programme and book a place at one of the upcoming surgeries.’’