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Craven District Council

Procurement Strategy

The Council is committed to ensuring the procurement of goods and services is undertaken in a fair and transparent manner and as efficiently as possible.

Download the Procurement Strategy as a PDF


Contents


Introduction

The Procurement Strategy 2013 – 2017 sets out the strategic direction and priorities for procurement across the Council.

Craven District Council recognises that proper management of procurement is essential to the efficiency and effectiveness of all services throughout the Council.

This document outlines a strategy for procurement of all goods and services on behalf of the Council

A change of UK Government coupled with the global economic downturn has seen national priorities shift onto budget deficit reduction and a greater emphasis on delivering services locally via the Localism Act 2011 and the Big Society.

These challenges are being passed onto local government via reduced funding from Central Government. The Council has seen a reduction in funding from Central Government of 32% since 2011/12 resulting in the Council needing to deliver savings of £1.56 million pounds over the financial years 2011/12 to 2013/14. This has placed a fresh emphasis on delivering value for money services and exploring new income generation opportunities.

The Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2013/17 sets out the Council’s annual budgets to 2017. This shows the Council will need to make further savings or generate additional income of £776k over the financial years 2014/15 to 2016/17.

Procurement can play a key role in delivering the Council’s objectives and policies, ensuring the services provided are legally compliant, enabling innovation and income generation opportunities and in securing high quality and value for money services.

Since 2010, the Council has delivered financial savings and efficiencies in excess of £121,000 through improved procurement processes. Examples of procurement projects delivered include letting telecoms contract to cheaper agreements, grounds maintenance, insurance services, waste recyclates and reactive works.

The Strategy details how the Council can use effective procurement to deliver its priorities and improve value for money. It also sets out how it will meet new responsibilities introduced by the Localism Act and help support local and small and medium sized enterprises through these difficult financial times.

The Council will pursue a “mixed” approach to procurement seeking further savings opportunities both through aggregation of expenditure, collaboration with other public bodies and through local purchasing arrangements where appropriate.

The Strategy includes a Forward Plan listing potential procurement projects and an Action Plan for improving the Council’s approach to procurement. These will be reviewed annually.


Strategic Procurement in Context

The National and European Dimension

A change of UK Government in 2010 coupled with the economic downturn in the European Union and global economy has brought significant changes for Local Government, with procurement once again expected to play a key role.

To reduce national debt the UK Government is focused on budget deficit reduction across the Public Sector. For Local Government this has meant significantly reduced Financial Settlements and further reductions are expected over the following financial years.

The Localism Act 2011 focuses on seeking to shift power into the hands of residents and local organizations by enabling them to influence and shape local communities and to challenge council decisions. The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 also requires local authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts delivered within their geographical area.

The Government is also striving to open up government business opportunities by reducing the regulatory procurement framework especially with regards to the time it takes to undertake a procurement exercise and the impact upon Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) wishing to bid for this business.

Amendments have been made to the UK equalities legislation with the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 which increases the responsibilities of the public sector procurement to tackle long term inequalities, and to employment transfer guidance with the removal of the Workforce Code, and a new Bribery Act. The UK Government is also lobbying the EU to reduce bureaucracy and implement other changes to the EU Procurement Directives.

It is likely that climate change will become a more important consideration when evaluating procurement activity as energy and environmental costs continue to increase. As a result it is anticipated that the measurement of Council and supplier carbon footprints, a consideration of carbon costs in tenders, and investigating carbon reduction throughout key supply chains will become areas requiring review over the next few years.

Strategic procurement ensures these issues are embedded into procurement activities and processes undertaken by the Council. It provides a framework to ensure the Council complies with statutory duties and obtains value for money in goods, services and works procured, during a time where there will be more pressure on finances and greater demand for services.

Local Challenges

The Council spends approximately £4 million per year purchasing goods, works and services from 1500 external suppliers and voluntary organizations.

The national and regional changes outlined above present a significant challenge to the Council, not least that the reduced funding from Central Government which is requiring the Council to make further savings or generate increased revenue. Changes to the way local government is financed through National Non Domestic Rates will also place additional incentives on securing economic growth.

The Council has adopted a number of priorities in its Council Plan to address these challenges; working to promote local economic growth, encouraging and increasing community involvement in service delivering, protecting the environment through reducing carbon emissions, and delivering improved value and money and financial resilience across the Council.

The Council may need to consider alternative service delivery models and potentially shift from being providers of services to become influencers, commissioners, or partners in service delivery.

The Localism Act 2011 which contains provision within it for a ‘Community Right to Challenge’ of council services, and the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 both present a new challenge for the Council, both require a rethink of how the Council approaches and evaluates procurement projects. This includes how expressions of interest from organizations are handled, and in particular the criteria used to select the organizations invited to tender. A balance will be needed between a desire to simplify procurement processes for bidders and the requirement for robust checks of organizations’ financial stability, commercial experience and legal compliance.

The Council will also need to review its procurement documentation and processes to ensure new start-up organizations, partnerships and consortia bids can be evaluated equally against pre-existing organizations.

There is increasing pressure from Government and industry representative bodies such as the Federation of Small Businesses for council procurement to be more accessible for SMEs to find and bid for business opportunities and to make the procurement documentation proportionate to the value or level of risk associated with the requirement.

Information about Council business opportunities is made available on the Council’s web site and for higher value projects, will in the future be made available via the Yorkshire and Humber YORtender contract management system where appropriate. The Council will also review the practicalities of advertising a greater proportion of lower-value opportunities. This measure could potentially open up opportunities to a wider and more diverse supplier base, contributing to the Council’s overall objectives to promote equality and diversity in the exercise of all of its functions.


Key Principles for Effective Procurement

The Council is committed to delivering effective services which meet the needs of its residents, and to the provision of effective procurement and management procedures to ensure services represent best value. The following key principles underpin effective procurement within the Council.

Strategic Procurement

Strategic procurement can support improved service delivery, freeing up resources and improving the quality of goods, services and works, to ensure that the Council obtains value for money.

The Council recognises that year on year the delivery of the procurement strategy will be challenging, and may change traditional ways of working, how procurement work is managed and how goods and services are purchased across the organisation. It is accepted, however, that changes will need to be planned in conjunction with each service area and that the goods and services purchased are acceptable to all managers. One such change may be the need to standardise and rationalise the number of different products ordered, and how and from which source they should be purchased.

The procurement function sits within Financial Management and is co-ordinated and provided by the Council’s Risk, Procurement and Payments Manager. As part of the public services the Council is bound by the statutory and mandatory public procurement regulations and other requirements. The Council reaffirms that all its purchasing activity must meet all applicable requirements and that due process and corporate governance standards must be in accordance the legal requirements and the Councils Contract Procedure Rules.

Strategic procurements are managed through the Corporate Procurement Group, consisting of officers from the Council that have some involvement in the procurement of goods, works and services. The Corporate Procurement Group is responsible for agreeing procurement priorities and where appropriate it will lead on the letting of key corporate contracts.

A significant amount of procurement activity is devolved with the appropriate Service Managers being responsible for the delivery of new procurement projects, with advice and support provided to services directly and through guidance and toolkits available via the Councils Intranet site.

The Corporate Procurement Framework

The Councils’ procurement activity operates within a corporate framework consisting of the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules, Procurement Strategy, and procurement guidance, supported by a wider regulatory framework.

It is important that procurement decisions are legal, ethical and in accordance with the council’s objectives, policies and procedures.

Sustainability and equality issues should be embedded into the procurement process and considered by officers at the initiation of procurement projects. In broad terms sustainability incorporates environmental considerations, social and equality related matters including safeguarding and socio-economic matters such as supporting local and small and medium enterprises.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 makes consideration of these broader criteria in procurement decision making more important. Although the provisions of the Act apply to procurements which are subject to the EU Procurement Regulations only, the Council will aim to embed and consider these priorities in all relevant procurement documentation or processes with outcomes assessed on a whole life costing and benefits basis where appropriate. Contract management processes will also consider these issues to ensure compliance and measure performance.

The Council will ensure that procurement activity is undertaken in compliance with all legal and statutory requirements and in the most effective and appropriate manner, considering all options, including:

  • using approved pre-OJEU tendered Framework Agreements (e.g. those arranged by bodies such as Yorkshire Purchasing Organization (YPO) the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organization (ESPO) for common commodities and services;
  • using consortia of which the Council is a member (e.g. Yorkshire and Humber );
  • collaborative procurement with partner councils and other Public Sector bodies;
  • using approved e-procurement solutions (e.g. Purchasing cards, e-tendering);and
  • developing strategic partnerships, particularly where these may deliver significant service improvement and/or efficiencies.

 

All procurement activity should be transparent, fair, consistent, and robust and be undertaken to the highest standards of probity and accountability. Procurement decisions must be evidence based. 

As a minimum, service areas with a requirement to tender for particular goods, works or services should advertise their requirements as widely and transparently as possible to encourage bids from local suppliers and Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs

Forward Planning

A Procurement Action Plan has been produced and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

This includes the requirement for an annual procurement expenditure analysis to identify potential areas of opportunity and proactively engage with all service areas to gain early notice of any potential procurement projects. 

The Forward Plan of Procurement at page 15 details those recurring projects which are likely to commence during the lifetime of this strategy. This will form the basis of a Procurement Work Plan which will be reviewed and priorities agreed by the Corporate Procurement Group.

In addition, Service Managers will be required to review their own non-pay expenditure including all local contractual arrangements to ensure these comply with the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules; each service area will contribute to the production of the procurement savings plans detailing the identified projects which will be reported through the Corporate Procurement Group. Where common requirements exist across the Council or other public sector bodies, the Council will consider collaborating on these requirements to secure better value for money or quality of services.

Prior to undertaking any procurement project involving tendering activity, the Council will ensure that a robust business case which outlines the aims and objectives of the procurement has been produced and agreed.

Service Reviews

The Council aims to provide high quality value for money services. It is increasingly recognised that as well as directly providing services ‘in house,’ there are other ways to deliver service, including through partnerships with the private and voluntary sectors, locally with other public bodies and with Central Government.

The Localism Act 2011 also provides powers to the local community to bid to provide services or for community assets.

The development of new methods or approaches to procurement which may deliver services more efficiently, effectively, innovatively and economically will be encouraged.

The Council will develop an open and constructive dialogue with all those involved or who may have something to offer.

Risk Management

The Council will ensure that all procurement is undertaken in accordance with the Council’s Risk Management Strategy. Officers responsible for procurement activity should take into consideration all risks associated with both the procurement process and the outcomes of the procurement.

The choice of procurement route will be dependent on the strategic importance, the value of the goods, services or works, and the potential risk associated. Different procurement routes will be more appropriate for different requirements and will involve undertaking different practical steps to achieve the desired outcome. The Council will develop its overall management of procurement by modeling its requirement on a risk / value matrix.

The actual procurement process will depend on the desired outcomes and should be agreed with the Procurement Payments and Risk Manager. However, in all cases the process must comply with the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules

Contract Management

Contract management is of paramount importance, and can make the difference between a successful contract and a failed one. Contractual arrangements should be adequately resourced, effectively managed and the performance monitored throughout the contract duration. We will undertake periodic reviews of larger contracts and associated documentation, which should be updated as required. Contracts should include quality and performance standards which are monitored and reviewed.

Benchmarking with public and private sector organizations to measure the effectiveness of the Councils’ procurement will be encouraged where it is considered to add value.

A good working relationship will be developed with all suppliers, with liaison meetings held with major suppliers at suitable intervals. Plans should be made well in advance of the expiry of a contract for re-letting it based on a review of previous and current arrangements and performance.

Staff Competences and Skills

The Council will ensure that procurement training and staff development are appropriately resourced and made available to relevant staff. In addition the Procurement, Payments and Risk Manager will keep appropriate staff informed of corporate contracts and any developments in procurement.

Code of Conduct for Procurement

Procurement activity must be undertaken to the highest standards of ethics and probity. The Council insists on ethical standards from its suppliers, and in turn the Council must exhibit the highest ethical standards themselves. Officers and Members must not only be fair and above board in all business dealings, but should also avoid any conduct that is capable of having an adverse interpretation put on the Council. All employees and Members must adhere to their Council’s rules on conduct and in particular regarding the acceptance of gifts and hospitality when dealing with suppliers.


Priorities for Improving Procurement

The Council has identified four procurement ‘themes’ outlined below. These shall be embedded into procurement activity, helping to make improvements to service delivery and ensuring improved value for money.

Sustainability

  • In its broadest terms, sustainability encompasses social considerations such as equalities and safeguarding, environmental issues including climate change and carbon reduction, and wider socio-economic issues.
  • The Council will aim to embed sustainability in its procurement practices and processes by:
  • Considering such issues early in the procurement process at the business case stage, using checklists and impact assessments where appropriate. Requirements will be incorporated into the specification, procurement and contract documentation and post award through the contract monitoring or reporting regimes;
  • where appropriate, consulting with communities, service users and employees to understand their needs and requirements and factor these into service specifications as applicable;
  • ensuring the performance of service providers in delivering service specification requirements is monitored on a regular basis, as part of the contract management process;
  • supporting small and medium enterprises and the local economy by seeking to “open up” lower value business opportunities, producing procurement documentation and evaluation criteria to be proportionate for each particular project, and periodically reviewing the levels of business placed with SMEs and local organizations; and
  • Encouraging key contractors to open up their sub-contracting opportunities in a similar manner.

 

Procurement Resources, Skills and Training

The Council will aim to ensure that: 

  • procurement activity is adequately resourced;
  • procurement training and staff development is adequately resourced and regular procurement training made available to relevant staff; and
  • The Procurement, Payments and Risk Manager keeps appropriate staff informed of corporate contracts and any developments in procurement.

Project and Contract Management

Local Government procurement has to be tendered in accordance with a number of legislative requirements, including European Union (EU) procurement directives. There is a duty to local taxpayers and a legal requirement to have contract standards in the Council’s Constitution.

Contract management will become increasingly important, especially as more long term contractual arrangements are put into place. The continued requirement to make efficiency savings is likely to require contract managers to have a greater understanding of the markets that suppliers operate in, challenging contractors’ cost structures and maintaining service levels.

For higher value contracts, The Council will aim to achieve high quality services and improved value for money from all procurement activity through its project and contract management by:

  • identifying a named project manager and project sponsor for every project that involves a significant procurement element and clearly defining roles and responsibilities;
  • Working towards the continued development of standard procurement procedures, policies and template documentation.
  • Ensuring that a short business case is produced and submitted to the Corporate Leadership Team for high value procurement projects. This will include consideration of planning; any risks associated with the project, contract delivery and resource requirements.
  • where appropriate, specifications include measurable outputs or outcomes, performance standards or other appropriate measures to assess the contract against , as well as input driven requirements to which the tenderer must adhere;
  • ensuring evaluation criteria used is proportionate and tailored to the particular requirement, agreed prior to placing an advertisement and clearly outlining the criteria and process in tender documentation;
  • building in performance management measures into key contracts and monitoring them through contract reviews to ensure service delivery is being maintained and the contractual documentation is up to date;
  • reviewing the procurement process on conclusion of a tendering exercise to ensure lessons learnt can be used to develop and improve the procurement procedures

E-procurement

The Council recognises there are benefits to be gained from an increase in the use of e-procurement by using ICT to reduce the cost, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness across all aspects of the procurement process.

The Council will aim to:

  • utilise aspects of e-procurement including purchasing cards, electronic tendering systems (YORtender), and e-financial/ purchasing systems; and
  • Strive to adopt a common electronic platform to share information, and to reduce duplication, encourage collaboration and greater efficiency, where an appropriate business case can be made.

Procurement Action Plan 2013/2014

Sustainability

  • Implement the effective integration of sustainability issues in all major tenders and contracts where appropriate
  • Undertake an annual spend analysis and monitor expenditure with local and SME suppliers
  • Review the practicalities of advertising a greater proportion of lower-value opportunities and proactively look for procurement opportunities with local and SME suppliers

Procurement Resources, Skills and Training

  • Review and revise the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules to incorporate amendments required from changes to the EU Procurement Directives, The Localism Act and other UK legislation
  • Review and revise procurement advice and information available on the Council’s intranet and internet sites as necessary
  • Provide ongoing appropriate procurement training for staff involved in the procurement process
  • Provide support for key procurement projects/ procurement elements of service reviews as prioritized by the Council Management Team and Corporate Procurement Group

Project and Contract Management

  • Produce a record of savings generated against the Procurement Forward Plan and any additional non-pay savings generated by Service Managers, to be reviewed and updated quarterly by the Corporate Procurement Group.

E – Procurement

  • Effectively utilise appropriate e-procurement systems such as e-tendering, the YOR Tender Contract Management system and procurement cards

The action plan will be updated annually as separate document.


Forward Plan

Projects 2013 - 2016

The Forward Plan includes key procurement projects that are likely to commence during the lifetime of this strategy. This information is taken from a variety of sources including the councils’ contract register. The actual projects undertaken may be subject to change.

Project

Description

Agency Staff

Review of procurement of temporary and agency staff

Broadband

Review of broadband services

Water testing services

Provision of Analysis Service

Electoral print

Review of Electoral Management print purchasing

Food, beverage and vending supplies

Tender for the provision of food and beverage supplies

Home Improvement Agency

Review and possible tender of existing service

Mobile Phone services

Review of mobile phone provision

IT service contracts

Review of various IT Service Contracts and software

Banking services

Re-tendering of existing service

Phone services

Review of current landline arrangements

Pest Control services

Review and possible tender of existing service

Bulky waste collection

Review and possible tender of existing service