Town hall aims to keep it local

Blackpool Town Hall

Blackpool Town Hall

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MOVES are being made to ensure more Blackpool businesses are in with a chance of securing lucrative town hall contracts.

Council bosses are reviewing their procurement procedures as part of UK-wide efforts to help small and medium-sized businesses.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool Federation of Small Business.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool Federation of Small Business.

A report to next Thursday’s meeting of the Finance and Audit Committee shows that in the last financial year, Blackpool Council spent £33m with suppliers based in the borough.

The total represented more than a third of the council’s total spending of £87m with suppliers in 2011/12.

An additional 10 per cent of spending was placed with suppliers in the boroughs of Fylde and Wyre.

The report, by Trevor Rayner, head of procurement and development at the council, said: “A challenge for officers with procurement responsibilities is to strike the right balance between delivering efficiencies through the use of collaborative agreements, with that of using local suppliers.

“The council is being encouraged to procure locally wherever possible.”

The initiative was welcomed by Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool Federation of Small Business.

He said: “It is a two-way process.

“Local businesses should be more educated in where they need to go to look for these contracts.

“All local authorities in the North West put their contracts on The Chest e-tendering portal and every business should register on that.

“By law, councils also have to tender their contracts on European websites.

“Blackpool Council has to make big savings on its budget next year, but it still needs suppliers to meet everything from cleaning needs to printing, so if they can use local suppliers that must be a good thing. The FSB has its Keep Trade Local campaign which is all about encouraging people to support local services and shops.”

The report follows on from Blackpool Council’s pledge they would see that as many jobs as possible on the new £220m Central Business District scheme would go to local people.

Steps taken by the council so far include ensuring two out of the three quotations required for contracts worth up to £85,000 are from local suppliers where appropriate.

Supplier days and mail shots for up-coming contracts are also key to engaging with local suppliers.

But the emphasis on value for money will remain with the report to the committee adding pressure on council budgets is “unprecedented”, meaning it is more important than ever “the council secures maximum benefit with its available resources.”

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