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Spending Local - Making Change Happen

28 January 2021

Four £20 notes

District councils in Devon spend over £131 million a year buying goods, services and works. 

Today South Hams District Council has once again signed up to a joint procurement (buying) strategy that is helping Devon spend that money sustainably and with a strong drive for it to be spent locally. 

When it comes to buying goods and services, councils have to consider many different factors.  Justifying how they have spent public money and getting good value for money may have been top of the list, but thanks to this joint Devon strategy, spending the money for the benefit local communities and the environment is also now high on the agenda. 

Cllr Judy Pearce Leader of South Hams District Council said: "We have known for some time that buying products and services across a partnership like this has the power to command better value for money and higher quality products and services. 

"However, in addition, this strategy is now enabling us to focus on what can be done to keep the vast majority of that Devon wide annual spend in our local economy. We can do that by purchasing goods and services locally. 

"This has the added benefit of reducing our carbon footprint. It is much more sustainable to purchase goods and products within our region, than buy them from elsewhere and have them transported thousands of miles.

"Thanks to these strategies, sustainability is being considered as a major factor in all of our purchasing decisions."

South Hams has been part of 2 previous strategies which have created a solid foundation for all the Devon Districts involved to have a joined up approach to buying goods and services.

The focus of the strategy for the next 2 years will be on three key areas:

  • Sustainable procurement,
  • Engagement with small, medium sized business and community and voluntary organisations
  • Contract management.

Cllr Judy Pearce added:  "Small and medium sized business or micro-businesses play a major role in our communities.  They help to support economic growth from the ground up. Following the pandemic, these often innovative and dynamic small businesses are going to be key to our recovery.

"This principal of shopping locally and supporting the local trades is something that we can all do as we support each other to grow and thrive in the coming years. And that can begin as local as your own street, community or village".

The strategy also recognises that voluntary community and social enterprise organisation play an integral role in health and social care, and that it is important that we engage with them through this process.

Central Government have set themselves the target that 33% of all contracts should be delivered or sub-contracted to small and medium sized enterprises by 2020.

We have also now agreed to explore ways that we too can increase our local spend to 30% of our budget.  Which could mean spending an additional £1.2m a year locally.

With Devon's drive for net zero carbon by 2050 and South Ham's ambitions to support the recovery of the local economy, this new procurement strategy could play a vital part in making this change happen.

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