North Lincolnshire Council has committed to using sustainable British steel in its construction projects “wherever possible”.
The local authority, whose region includes Scunthorpe where 900 Tata workers face the threat of redundancy, has agreed a resolution that “embeds fully the Social Value Act, which enables the use of UK steel in its procurement policies”.
The Social Value Act requires buyers of public services to consider the wider social, economic and environmental benefits of procurement projects alongside procurement quality and whole life cost, and to engage with the local provider market.
All 43 councillors voted for the resolution, which commits the council to “devote maximum resources to attract economic investment and to promote the aspirations of all individuals seeking to make a contribution to improve the economic wellbeing of North Lincolnshire”.
The local authority has worked with local and regional partners to publish a list of forthcoming construction projects – currently worth £31m – that require steel, so designers, construction companies and their supply chains can procure steel locally and sustainably.
So far two capital schemes, the visitor centre and the sports centre, have incorporated sustainable steel specifications and criteria within their procurement guidelines.
Any specifications and evaluations for construction projects must take account of the requirements of the Social Value Act and the Framework Standard for Responsible Sourcing (BES 6001), and the authority is encouraging other public and private partners to take similar steps and share best practice.
In addition, the council is a signatory of the EEF’s Charter for Sustainable British Steel.
"Procurement has an important strategic role to play in ensuring that UK suppliers of steel can compete effectively on a more level playing field for public and private sector contracts,” said Jason Whaler, assistant director of business support at the council.
“This intelligent approach is enabling procurement to demonstrate its strategic contribution to the achievement of the council's priorities for the area.”