Almost half the Council’s spend – 45 per cent – is now with local businesses compared to just 16 per cent in 2011/12, thanks to a concerted and sustained effort by the Council’s procurement team to make sure they buy local.
Significant changes to the way the Council buys services locally has created more than 220 jobs in the city as well as brought more spending power back into Plymouth.
The figures have been unveiled this week as part of the city’s Plan for Jobs results, which has already reached its 2,000 target.
They also show that in the same timescale (over two years) the amount of contracts and goods being bought locally from small and medium business as gone from four per cent to 37 per cent.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Mark Lowry said: “This is an incredible result and is making a difference to families in and around Plymouth. Thanks to changes in our practices and increased support, more businesses are becoming more confident in pitching for work or business with us – and getting it.”
A centralised buying team was set up and measures to simplify complex buying systems and give local companies a chance include:
Increasing the Council’s low-value thresholds from £75,000 to £100,000 so that the Council needs only three quotations rather than to carry out a lengthy tender process
Changing contract standing orders so that at least two of the three quotes are from local suppliers, and where possible, all three quotes are local
Aiming to pay small and medium sized business suppliers within 15 days rather than the standard 30 days.
supporting suppliers in how to do business with the Council by running training and meet the buyer events
supporting suppliers with registration on the Sell 2 Plymouth portal for lower value procurements and the south west portal where tender opportunities for public sector and partners are advertised
Work with the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce & Industry to provide tender training for their members
Provide specific tender training targeting local suppliers via the S2P portal
Embedding Social Value Act requirements into tender documents and procurement guidance manuals – this means considering the social, economic and environmental impact as part of the contract criteria.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: “This is a great example of how our Plan for Jobs works. We set out to increase the amount of local purchasing to keep more of Plymouth’s wealth in the city – and it has paid off – not just for us, but for over 600 businesses in the PL postcode area that have benefited from this.
“Procurement does not exactly sound exciting – but thanks to this continual and persistent push to change how we do things, hundreds of businesses and in turn their staff now have more money. That’s what growth is all about and we are delivering it.”
David Shephard, Devon Regional Chairman, of the Federation of Small Businesses said at a recent award scheme that a number of authorities were currently streamlining their procedures. He said: “In particular we commend Plymouth for their current work in engaging with the FSB locally in Plymouth, the Chamber and other organisations in seeking to implement a more beneficial working relationship.”
The Council is also working alongside other partners in the public sector to make sure as many publically funded organisations as possible help local businesses and make the most of the local supply chain.
Job estimates are based on an economic input-output tool, which maps the supply-and-demand transactions within and between sectors in the economy.