The Specialist (Procurement) reported that the Council’s previous procurement strategy was a combined Sustainable Commissioning and Procurement Strategy which has since been separated into two separate documents with the Commissioning Strategy being approved by Council in 2020 and the Procurement Strategy as a companion piece.
The main update to the Strategy was to reflect the Council Plan priorities, with sustainability remaining at the heart of it. Procurement has gone through big changes, particularly as it is no longer bound by EU regulations. However, new regulations mirror those of the EU.
She continued by drawing Members attention to the Procurement Policy statement, of which the main targets are social value, ensuring contractor promises are fulfilled and achieving best value for money.
The Specialist (Procurement) responded stating that whilst legislation was introduced back in 2012, uptake across departments has been varied. The strategy update refocuses the need to look at social value. She finished by acknowledging that further work needed to be done to identify best social value practice.
As part of the discussion Members queried whether social value would be considered as part of the overall value for money, or if it would sit separately. The Specialist (Procurement) confirmed that they were looking at having three main questions; price, quality and social value and that the Council had signed up to the social value portal which would assist in evaluating social value.
Discussion also raised the question as to whether the Council had considered contracting out procurement. The Specialist (Procurement) confirmed that there were currently no plans to contract out and there was a focus on ensuring that in house staff are making appropriate choices and decisions.
In response to queries relating to electric charging points and the social value of using electric fleet vehicles, the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources clarified that the Procurement Strategy had to respond to the overall policy strategy of the Council, as well as the Commissioning Strategy.
Members highlighted a need to objectively look at how value could be placed on social value and suggested it should be looked at and answered at Cabinet.
The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) summarised that comments to be put forward to Cabinet – that the Procurement Strategy was supported and Members were pleased to see that social value was being supported. She also summarised the following questions to be put forward for consideration at Cabinet; What does success look like for Social Value?; and How will this be measured and how can we know if we have done well in assessing the social value in procurement?
RESOLVED – That:-
(1) Cabinet and Council be recommended to approve Procurement Strategy;
(2) The following questions be put to Cabinet for a response;
a) What does success look like with Social Value?;
b) How will Social Value be measured; and
c) How will we know this has succeeded?
(3) A report be brought back to Overview and Scrutiny Committee after one year, to consider the progress made.