Plymouth City Council increases its local spend and the economic, social and environmental benefits generated for the city through its spending.
Supporting the local area is at the heart of Plymouth City Council’s Procurement policy. Over the last 10 years, the Council has implemented a series of measures specifically targeted at increasing the amount it spends with local suppliers and this has resulted in local spend climbing from around 15 per cent of total annual spend to just under 50 per cent in recent years. Measures include progressively increasing the threshold up to which the Council can select suppliers to invite to procurement activity and not nationally advertise and setting minimum requirements for the number of local suppliers that should be invited to procurement opportunities for below threshold procurements.
And the Council has not stopped there, in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic it has committed to increasing it local spend by a further 10 per cent over the next two years. The Council is driving this increase in spend through the Spend 4 Plymouth initiative which covers a ranges of measures from collaborating with city partners to ensuring policies and procedures are local supplier friendly, from increasing awareness and upskilling officers and suppliers to launching the Plymouth Supplier Directory. In the first 6 month of the 20/21 financial year 60 per cent of Council spending has gone to local suppliers. This equates to 12 per cent above target and approximately £21 million more being spent locally than the same period last year.
However trying to keep more direct spend with local suppliers is only one part of the task, how do you ensure spend actually remains in the local area? Or where a local supplier does not win a contract, how do you ensure the contract still generating benefits for the local area? This is where Social Value comes in. The Council has recently refreshed its Social Value Policy to make an even stronger statement of it strategic intent to take into consideration the local economy, society and environment when defining value for money and awarding contracts. Going well beyond the legislation and expectations put on central government, for the Council social value must be included in procurement activity for contracts of any type and value provided it is relevant and proportional to do so. The Council has already obtained economic, community and environmental benefits from suppliers that are valued at £400,000.