Procurement programme saves council £12m a year
LOCAL businesses working on major regeneration projects for Swansea Council are helping save millions of pounds a year, boosting and protecting jobs.
City centre schemes like Swansea Arena, the Kingsway makeover and the creation of the new community hub on Oxford Street have all benefited from local firms winning shares of contract work.
Other heritage projects like the restoration of the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, the ongoing renewal of the Bascule bridge and the Palace Theatre have also seen millions of pounds of council-managed money spent in Swansea and Wales.
The success stories of local small and medium-sized businesses bidding for work on the projects is all part of the council's innovative and commercial approach to buying goods and services is helping save around £12m a year.
The council spends around £250m a year making purchases ranging from construction materials and transport services to social care and education support.
And an in-depth study has revealed how the council's Swansea Procurement Model not only encourages keeping the spending as local as possible but also helps save money, protect local jobs and create benefits for city communities.
David Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Corporate Service and Performance, said: "The Swansea Procurement Model demonstrates how we look at every pound we spend and whether it is being used effectively and efficiently.
"At a time when the cost of living crisis is affecting us all, the council's approach to buying essential goods and services is a win-win for us and for local businesses with £100m plus of our spend staying in the local area and so supporting local employment."
Cllr Hopkins said the council's procurement model is helping reduce costs while also maintaining and improving quality.
But he said it's also about the additional social and business benefits the council can get from what it's buying.
Cllr Hopkins said: "The city centre regeneration programme is worth hundreds of millions of pounds and our 'meet the buyer' events has enabled local businesses to bid for contracts as part of these schemes.
"We've also devised a Suppliers' Guide to help small and medium-sized businesses bid for work through a better understanding of our procurement processes and procedures, which is available in Welsh and English on our website, and we work with government partners to deliver further and specific training on this matter of how to tender for council business opportunities."
Cllr Hopkins said that the Swansea Procurement Model is also designed to ensure the social benefits of its spending power continue to have an impact in generating jobs and work experience for local people.
Cllr Hopkins said: "Swansea Council's pioneering Beyond Bricks and Mortar initiative is a key feature of our procurement model. It ensures that companies who win contracts with us offer local apprenticeships and work experience opportunities for those who might not otherwise have a way into the jobs market.
"Over the years hundreds of people have benefited from social benefit clauses we introduce into our procurement contracts and it's good to see that other local authorities and public sector organisations are now following our lead."
Cllr Hopkins said that the in-depth review of procurement services by a councillor-led scrutiny panel spotlighted the effectiveness of the Swansea Procurement Model in delivering benefits for the council and local communities.
It also commended the council's continuing commitment to localising procurement spending as much as possible and its efforts to de-mystify the process for local small and medium businesses in particular.
Cllr Hopkins said: "It recognised the many excellent achievements of the Swansea Procurement Model and compared it favourably with other local authority examples of the way in which progressive approaches to procurement can support community wealth-building.
"At the same time, it has also offered useful recommendations and advice on how we can continue to improve our procurement model in the coming years, all of which the council is adopting and will be putting at the heart of its procurement planning."