24 May 2007
Local authorities should give third-sector agencies better advice and more grants to enable them to make successful contract bids.
Lee Digings, national procurement adviser at the Improvement and Development Agency for local government, said the third (or charity) sector is a "powerful aid" for councils to engage with communities. He said it can help purchasing to identify needs, provide services and monitor results.
He added although EU rules prevent councils from awarding contracts to such agencies solely because of their status, they can still award grants for capacity building purposes. Together with guidance, these grants would give the third sector the ability to compete on an even level when bidding for contracts.
Paul Deegan, senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said authorities needed to introduce such initiatives as "meet the bidder" days for the third sector and suggest that agencies work with other providers when there is the opportunity.