Local Authorities taking back control and spending with local companies…

The “Preston Model” is a term applied to how Preston council, its anchor institutions and other partners have, and continue to, implement the principles of Community Wealth Building within Preston and the wider Lancashire area.

Large public sector institutions were spending £1.2 bn (2013) on supplies, services and works and a thinktank looked at how this could be redirected to local businesses.

The results have shown success, three years later (2016-17) figures showed that an extra £75 Million had been redirected to Preston based suppliers and a further £200 Million across the county of Lancashire.  Existing businesses were sought that could win contracts such as a £600,000 printing contract tendered by the Police and a £1.6M council food budget which was broken into lots and awarded to local farmers/food producers in the region.

The good news is that the Preston Model works – In 2016 Preston was voted the Best City to live and work in the North West of England.

This good work is now being taken forward in places like Birmingham, Oldham, Salford, Kirklees, Islington, Enfield and Southampton. This is evidence of the fact that there is a hunger and a desire to find practical ways to rebase local economies so that they operate in ways which are more inclusive and share the proceeds of growth more fairly across our communities.

If you are a local business and want to win a local Public Sector tender , you need to make the most of the The UK’s Social Value Act (2012). This act is fully consistent with EU procurement rules, allows anyone letting a contract to operate a “weighting” system which scores a number of other criteria as well as price. These can include things like:

  • Quality
  • Commitment to apprenticeships
  • Attitudes to skills and training
  • Local labour recruitment
  • Approach to sub-contractors and
  • Length of supply chains.

This gives a Local Company a real advantage, but you still have to tender if the contract is over £180k for goods and services and above £4 million for works.  You need to ensure you utilise your ‘local presence’ as a USP’.

Do your research on your own company so that you can quantify:

  • The number of ‘local’ employees – search their postcodes against the Public Sector buyers address and work out the % of employees living within a 5/10 mile radius.
  • Number of Apprentices you have employed
  • Number of work experience placements from local schools, colleges and universities you have offered.
  • The number of new local jobs that the award of a local contract would create
  • Savings in CO2 emissions and car miles saved by car share or cycle to work schemes you operate
  • Donations in kind or in labour hours to local community projects

You will not score marks in a tender for your Postcode alone… You will have to earn those marks by, quantifying facts, providing evidence and explaining the benefits in your tender of choosing you as a local supplier….