Procurement is the term used for how organisations and businesses acquire goods and services. Procurement can range from the materials needed for new roads or buildings to the ingredients that make up school lunches.
Organisations of all sizes need to procure goods. As a local authority we are bound by a set of rules to ensure that the procurement of goods and services is open, fair and transparent ensuring that the city of Preston gets good quality at a competitive price.
Progressive Procurement is a key part of Community Wealth Building and looks at both how the procurement process can be made simpler for potential suppliers to bid for opportunities and also how the procurement of goods and services can benefit local communities.
We try to encourage more businesses to engage with us in procurement by breaking bigger contracts down into smaller ones for example; or by making the process to bid for contracts as simple as we can (within the rules and regulations that we have to observe).
When procuring goods and services it is also important to look at more than just the financial cost. We should also look at what additional value, or benefit, we can get from what we are buying.
For example, the construction of new buildings and developments can benefit local companies through them supplying materials and labour, and communities through employment opportunities either during construction or afterwards in the new businesses which move into these new developments.
Similarly if the ingredients for our school lunches are sourced from farms in Lancashire and the North West, this supports local farmers and communities and cuts down on our carbon footprint.
This then creates a ripple effect with local workers having better financial stability and available income to enjoy businesses in their area such as shops and restaurants ensuring the proceeds of business supports communities.
Cost will always play a role in the fair procurement of goods and services, but through progressive procurement organisations can take a wider look at the impact of their work and make a conscious choice to support local business and communities where possible.
Progressive Procurement stems from the Social Value Act which supports organisations to consider the wider social, economic and environmental impact of how they procure goods and services.
Spend analysis is a helpful tool for organisations to look at the way they procure goods and services and better understand how this affects the communities they serve.
Community Wealth Building exists both outside of Preston and the UK. Over the past few years, we've had the pleasure of working with likeminded partners around the world to develop new ideas and ways of working to make a fairer economy. For more information see our international work.
The following documents contain more information about Progressive Procurement and how it can support communities: