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MPS - Procurement

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The Nottingham City Council Procurement Strategy 2018-2023 sets out for the supplier market and other stakeholders the strategic aims of the Council that are to be taken forward through our procurement activity over the next five years. It outlines how procurement will use the Council’s spending power to drive our key strategic objectives of:

  • Citizens at the heart
  • Securing economic, social and environmental benefits
  • Commercial efficiency

Vision and Strategy

The Procurement Strategy highlights the central role of the procurement function and the approach to be taken in supporting the Council to achieve its strategic priorities within a constrained financial envelope. 

The Procurement Strategy aims to maximise social value for the City by outlining how we will address economic, social and environmental considerations at all stages of the procurement cycle, in accordance with the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. Our key procurement objectives are:

Economic:

  • Grow the local economy - Increase spend within the local economy
  • Create employment and training opportunities for citizens
  • A strong and diverse local market - Support for SMEs, VCOs, SEs and local businesses

Social:

  • Deliver safe, quality and innovative services that meet citizens’ needs
  • Secure social and community benefits
  • Inclusive growth - Tackling deprivation, promoting social inclusion and improving health and wellbeing

Environmental:

  • Minimise the environmental impact of goods, services and works procured (Air quality and climate change; Resource efficiency, waste reduction and recycling; Biodiversity, nature conservation and greening)
  • Source innovative and sustainable green solutions 

The Procurement Strategy sets out a number of core principles for all our procurement:

  • Commercial efficiency – a commercial approach and securing best value for money to make scarce financial resources go further 
  • Citizens at the heart – providing great services that are right for all citizens and customers
  • Partnerships and collaboration – to maximise opportunities for joint working, particularly in the context of devolution and integration
  • Governance, fairness and transparency – implementing robust procedures to ensure a level playing field and legal compliance
  • Ethical standards – ensuring the well-being and protection of work forces throughout the supply chain
  • Innovation and improvement – continuously developing and improving our processes and working innovatively to secure improved outcomes. 

Procurement Within a Commissioning Approach

The role of local authorities in health and social care markets is evolving; Councils now need to act as facilitators of their local markets as opposed to simply being funders, purchasers and suppliers of care services. In commissioning services such as Adult Social Care, procurement will focus on:

  • Promoting early intervention and prevention in service design and delivery; encouraging providers to develop solutions and innovative working practices
  • Supporting Small and Medium Sized Organisations (SMEs), Social Enterprises (SEs) and Voluntary and Community Organisations (VCOs) well placed to meet the needs of citizens in local communities through flexible ways of working
  • Creating a balance between large contracts and smaller, more bespoke packages. Where possible, breaking down large value contracts to provide opportunities for small suppliers
  • Ensuring our procurement is accessible to consortia bids and encouraging SMEs, VCOs and SEs to work in partnership
  • Securing affordable, quality provision, built around the needs of Nottingham citizens
  • Ensuring all services procured are accessible and appropriate to meet the diverse needs of all sections of the community
  • Ensuring the engagement of citizens and carers throughout the commissioning and procurement process, including in the development of services and evaluation of tenders
  • Encouraging providers to commit to the principles of the NCC Business Charter, including adopting ethical employment practices. 

The Process

When commissioning services the procurement options are considered as part of a Strategic Commissioning Review process. The factors considered include: future need for the service, whether remodelling is necessary, compliance with the Council’s financial regulations and Public Procurement Regulations, and the costs, benefits and risks of tendering. 

A tender is a competitive bidding process that is undertaken to select the best provider(s) to deliver services that are required. Formal tenders are undertaken to:

  • Deliver value for money in the Council’s use of public funding
  • Stimulate competition in market
  • Ensure fairness and transparency in contract opportunities for potential providers
  • Meet legal requirements – the Procurement Regulations require contracting authorities to publicise procurement documents electronically. 

The tender process is tailored as appropriate for each service, for example based on factors such as the nature of the service being commissioned, the scale of the work and value of the contract and consideration of the market. In procuring Social Care and Support Services, the Council uses a range of methods and types of contracts, including:

  • Framework agreements - agreements with one or more suppliers setting out the terms (price, quality etc) of work to be undertaken for the period of the agreement but with no guarantee of an amount of business.
  • Provider accreditation – an open application processes through which qualified providers are accepted onto an approved list. Examples are Residential and Nursing care and Care; Care, Support and Enablement Services.
  • Standard Contracts with payments based on a block basis or on activity delivered. 

Opportunities

The Nottingham City Council Procurement Plan presents the planned programme of procurement activity across all areas of the Council. It is published to enable the market to prepare to participate in future opportunities. The Council values the contributions that SMEs, VCOs and SEs can make and encourage suppliers to identify potential partners to form consortia to bid, particularly for larger contracts. The Procurement Plan and published register of awarded contracts can be viewed on the Council’s Open Data Nottingham Page here: https://www.opendatanottingham.org.uk/dataset.aspx?id=70

It should be noted that the Procurement Plan sets out anticipated procurement activity and is subject to change, for example due to changes to service budgets and priorities. 

The majority of the Council’s contracts above £10,000 are advertised on an online Procurement Portal: www.eastmidstenders.org. The Council recognises the contribution that local suppliers can make to the City and its community and we encourage registration on the Procurement Portal to be able to participate in contract opportunities.  Additionally contracts above £25,000 are advertised on Contracts Finder, which provides an overview of contracting and subcontracting opportunities. 

For more information about procurement at Nottingham City Council, please see: http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/business-information-and-support/procurement/

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