Report review: Better services, stronger economy

| Helen Sharp

Published by: Locality

Date: 2018

This latest guidance from Locality follows on nicely from the procurement guide we introduced to you almost a year ago: The Art of Possible in Procurement. I’m aware that procurement isn’t everyone’s bag, but it is pretty important in the commissioning world. The thing I like about Locality’s work is that their ‘Keep it Local’ campaign is helping commissioners keep services with local providers. Using these providers can maintain the perspective, connections and experience and prevent money leaking out of the local area. And that means loads of social value!

By commissioning local community organisations to provide local services, councils can simultaneously create better, more responsive services and build a fairer, more resilient local economy.

This report is one of three connected guides and comes from the work Locality have been doing in six areas testing out some innovative approaches. It is another chance to myth-bust the procurement ‘rules’ and introduces us to some alternative methods beyond competitive tendering.

  • Alliance contracting – an approach to driving collaboration between providers using a single contract and shared outcomes and risk. If you want to know more about this, contact us because our team member, Linda is the UK expert in alliancing.
  • Light touch regime – you’ll remember this one from the Art of Possible. It provides a more flexible approach to procurement. In fact, you can pretty much do anything provided you have reasonable time limits and transparency and equal treatment for all.
  • Single tender action – one I’d not heard of, where a commissioner has permission to award a contract to a provider where there is no perceived competition in the market.
  • Reserved contracts – I’d like to investigate this one further. It seems to suggest that the commissioner can reserve a contract for a VCSE provider if they can demonstrate some collaborative principles within their employment structure. But this needs to go beyond social enterprise or not for profit. I wonder what that looks like?
  • Innovation partnerships – this process allows commissioners to procure the development and purchase of an innovative service from a provider(s) in a single combined procurement process.

So, more ammunition and ideas for you to set before your procurement colleagues when they tell you that sadly, EU regulations won’t let you do something different.

You can find out more about how to Keep it Local, by signing up to Locality’s Keep it Local Network. We showcased their full report last year – ‘Powerful Communities, Strong Economies’ which describes their findings from the broader research.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

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