To consider progress across the procurement function over the past 12 months and an updated Procurement Schedule.
Councillor Andrew Jarvis, Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report which provided an update on progress across the procurement function, a review of activity in the financial year 2019/2020 and a review of the 2020/21 procurement schedule. He welcomed the Council’s new Procurement Specialist, Gillian Flowers, who had taken up the post in January 2020.
The Procurement Team had been busy over the past 12 months supporting the delivery of a large number of procurement exercises for goods and services, the Procurement Schedule for 2019/20 having listed 92. Of these exercises, 45 had been completed, with 14 showing as “work in progress”, two “scope for change” and 31 being carried forward to the 2020/21 Schedule. The Team had led the successful procurements for a number of important projects, including playgrounds, Kendal Markets, consultancy, ICT, Grange Lido and Kendal Town Hall. The Team continued to work closely with the Corporate Asset Manager and the Council’s Property Services Provider (Lambert Smith Hampton) to delivery property-related procurement projects covering servicing and work contracts. This contract would be reviewed later in the year.
The Council’s Constitution had permitted officers to conduct and conclude the contracting processes without further approval providing it was in line with the Procurement Schedule, to be approved by Council at least annually. There was still a requirement to comply with Forward Plan requirements on all contracts prior to contract award. Where a procurement process was over budget then approval would still be required in accordance with the Financial Procedure Rules. Where an officer sought approval for a waiver or exemption under the Contract Procedure Rules this was also included in the Procurement Schedule. An updated Procurement Schedule for 2020/21 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and included some additional procurement exercises to those approved in February 2020.
A Contract Review Board, comprising officers from the Legal, Governance and Democracy Team and the Finance Team, including Procurement, had been formed. The Board’s work had included identifying contracts impacted by Covid-19, with reports to Cabinet as required, the review of the use of certain frameworks to ensure value for money and working closely with officers from across the Council to understand requests for waivers and exemptions and to limit their use wherever possible. The emphasis of this Board was to focus on value for money.
A Commissioning Strategy had been prepared and approved by Council in July 2020 which would complement the Procurement Strategy. The Procurement Specialist was currently reviewing the Procurement Strategy in line with the Commissioning Strategy as a golden thread, and was also seeing how it fitted into the procurement guidance within the Constitution.
The report referred to challenges in the future. As the UK left the EU, it was envisaged that there would be changes to the Procurement Regulations, initially in terms of thresholds, but eventually in terms of regulation and accountability. The Public Contracting Regulations 2015 would stay in place in the mean-time. The Council’s procurement portal, the Chest, was one of those that ... view the full minutes text for item 50