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24 January 2013 | Anna Reynolds
Wakefield Council has doubled its spend with local businesses to £68 million, and has delivered more than £5 million savings in the process, under a new procurement strategy.
Across 2011/12, the local authority spent a total of £180 million of contracts, £68 million of which went into the local economy. Over 40 per cent of the council’s suppliers have a Wakefield postcode, and nearly 70 per cent of suppliers are in the Yorkshire and the Humber region.
The council is also using procurement to support local skills and last year 19 new jobs were created locally as well as several apprenticeships. It has also taken steps to make it easier for companies to do business with them.
Alan Kirkham, service director, ICT and procurement at Wakefield Council, told SM the council does not require fledgling companies to submit certain documentation for low-value tenders and that it is a priority to place any contracts lower than £5,000 with local suppliers.
Further, it is a contractual requirement for the council’s main suppliers to pay their subcontractors within a 30-day timescale, in line with its own payment terms.
Kirkham explained that contracts are awarded through a competitive process, but lower transport costs and overheads often mean local suppliers can provide best value. “The duty of social value has been embedded in our strategy this year but we have to make sure we balance this with getting value for money. Smaller suppliers tend to go the extra mile,” Kirkham added.