4theRegion in partnership with EFT Consult convened a forum at The Grand Hotel in Swansea with interest in local economic development. Our goal was to foster discussions centered around the importance of retaining regional spending and how this can be achieved within the existing statutory framework and procurement laws.

Community wealth building has emerged as a powerful approach to local economic development, reorganising local economies so that wealth is not extracted but broadly held and recirculated within the region. These ideas are being applied by a growing number of businesses, public and social sector organisations across the UK who are now driving a shift in economic development thinking.

Obstacles & Challenges

  • End user to procurement specifying the needs – No opportunity to think local/different.
  • Ensuring design of scope is right before procurement process begins
  • Public Sector places too much pressure on SMEs and not enough value.
  • Frameworks can be limiting and can include poor quality suppliers.
  • Social value procurement needs to be at middle management level, needs more time & less pressure to make decisions.
  • Limited ability to appoint prime contractors and influence the supply chain.
  • Short term budget-setting gets in the way of life-cycle. Cost of bidding can be a deterrent.
  • Social value procurement needs to be at middle management level, need more time & less pressure to make decisions.

what’s working well?

  • A growing desire to change for the benefit of the communities.
  • Growing tendency not to award completely on price.
  • Swansea Council have been able to put in contracts under 140k to be awarded to local businesses.
  • Notable changes being made on sustainability, such as supermarkets changing packaging.
  • Dynamic purchasing systems provide a good database of supplies to streamline procurement with better options and choices.
  • Good intentions behind legislation and policies and a willingness to innovate. Laws such as the Well-being of Future Generations Act are tools for positive change.
  • Contractors and suppliers collaborating to bid. Contractors have an efficient understanding of the working environment and the needs of the client.

Other ideas

  • Encourage transparency within procurement, allowing information accessible to all and more ambitious uses of community benefits clauses in contracts.
  • Collaboration between local counties, cross-border working and resource sharing driven by county councils and embedding of community values.
  • Implementation of a circular economy and encouragement of repair, reuse, recycle and reduce.
  • Focus on encouraging new market entrants and growth of existing businesses.
  • More case studies of bad practice and lessons learnt from experiences. Opportunities to scale up good examples.
  • What can we learn from the Preston model as an example of distinct economic development and how can we transform the way we work in South West Wales to achieve similar outcomes for our region?

Noted organisations

  • AB Glass
  • Antur Teifi
  • BESA
  • Bloom Procurement Services
  • Bridgend County Borough Council
  • Business Wales
  • Caerphilly CBC
  • Cardiff Capital Region City Deal
  • Cardiff Council
  • Cardiff University
  • Carmarthenshire County Council
  • Castell Howell Foods
  • Ceredigion County Council
  • CLES
  • Coastal Housing Group
  • Create Construction
  • EFT Consult
  • Family Housing
  • Gower College Swansea
  • Gower Gas & Oil
  • ION Leadership Swansea University
  • KEL
  • Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service
  • Milford Haven Port Authority
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • Neath Port Talbot Council
  • Office of the Future Generations Commissioner
  • Orcogen Limited
  • Perago-Wales
  • PM Developments
  • Procum Ltd
  • Public Health Wales
  • rc2 Property & Regeneration Expert
  • Regional Learning & Skills Partnership
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC
  • SCVS
  • Severn Wye Energy Agency
  • South Wales Police
  • Specialist Engineering Contractors Group
  • Swansea Bay City Deal
  • Swansea Council
  • Swansea ITeC
  • Swansea University
  • Tai Ceredigion Cyf
  • Torfaen County Borough Council
  • VH Procurement
  • Wales Co-Operative Centre
  • Welsh Government
  • Welsh Procurement Alliance
  • Yolk Recruitment

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