Agenda item

Scrutiny Review of Procurement: Social Value and Buying Local - update report

Report by the Chief Operating Officer.


31.1     The Chief Operating Officer introduced the report followed by further comments from the Head of Policy & Improvement, Orbis Procurement. The report provides a progress update on the implementation of the recommendations from the scrutiny review as detailed in appendix 1 of the report. Good progress has been made against the recommendations although there has been some capacity and resource constraints in implementing the recommendations. The Head of Policy & Improvement commented that the Social Value trial was going really well and is pleased with the way in which the trial of the new model using a more qualitative approach to Social Value is progressing.


31.2     The Chief Operating Officer also outlined that there are some upcoming changes as the Procurement Act has received Royal Assent, although some of the provisions have not come into force yet, which may provide more flexibility in regard to Social Value. There is a change in the procurement process from looking at the ‘most economically advantageous’ tender to the ‘most advantageous’ tender which provides more flexibility in evaluating tenders and putting more emphasis on Social Value.


31.3     The Committee discussed the update report and the comments and questions raised by the Committee are summarised below.


31.4     The Chair of the Review Board commented that it was a very positive to see how the Team is moving forward in implementing the recommendations, and it will be interesting to see how the Council moves from the trial of a new approach to Social Value, through to broadening it out into other areas across the Council.


Recording of Social Value commitments

31.5     The Committee asked about the figure for recording Social Value commitments under recommendation 2 as 8.3% of projects in scope appeared to be quite low. It was clarified that this is a very new system (PM3) which only went live in October 2022 which explains the low starting point as it is only recording Social Value commitments at the point of new contract awards. The Head of Policy & Improvement added that the capacity constraints mean that it will be necessary to see what can be achieved with the existing system (PM3) before looking at what can be done through the Contract Management Advisory Service (CMAS) in East Sussex County Council (ESCC). The PM3 system can be used now for reporting a number of outputs from procurement and it will be possible to see how CMAS can report on contract delivery.


31.6     The Committee asked if it would be possible to provide an update on how the Council is doing in securing Social Value and receiving Social Value commitments. The Chief Operating Officer responded that it will be possible to ensure the delivery on commitments is reported back to the Committee.


Carbon emissions reporting

31.7     The Committee noted that under recommendation 8c, there is a trial of a reporting platform for carbon emissions from contracts (scope 3). The Committee asked if it would be possible to have a demonstration of the system. The Head of Policy & Improvement confirmed that it would be possible to arrange a demonstration either on the test system or on the live system once some data had been loaded onto it.


Buying Local policy

31.8     The Committee asked if the Buying Local policy is working and whether the Council has information to demonstrate contractors are buying locally. The Chief Operating Officer outlined that the policy is working, and information is regularly reported on the amount of goods and services procured locally, which is currently around 66%. It was clarified that activity under this policy does not stop when the corporate plan target of 60% is reached.


Supply chain reviews and development

31.9     The Committee asked if there is an active supply chain review process in place to ensure the Council is getting value for money. The Chief Operating Officer responded that there has been two recent Internal Audits looking at supply chain risk. Supplier and contract management is decentralised to departments in the Council and a range of work is done to ensure value for money and the Council uses its buying power from contracts.


31.10   The Committee asked if horizon scanning is undertaken to ensure the Council knows when new suppliers enter the market and what the markets for various goods and services are doing. The Chief Operating Officer outlined that when tendering for contracts the Council ensures that requests to bid are advertised as widely as possible. There is also proactive market engagement to make sure the market can meet the Council’s needs. The Head of Policy & Improvement added that the Council has to publish procurement notices and departmental teams carry out an assessment of the market and suppliers before going to market on large contracts that will capture any new market entrants.


31.11   The Committee RESOLVED to note the updates to the recommendations and action plan set out in Appendix 1 of the report.



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