SOUTHAMPTON City Council member Steve Leggett has highlighted the variety of contracts on offer from the local authority and other public sector organisations.

As part of the Daily Echo's Love Local Business campaign, which is in partnership with the city council and GO! Southampton, cabinet member for Green City & Place Cllr Leggett has detailed what could be up for grabs.

"Has your business considered bidding for contracts with public sector organisations like Southampton City Council, but felt that you weren’t able to compete with bigger, national companies? Or maybe you have applied in the past, without success?

"On average Southampton City Council spends £300million per year with external suppliers, of which £205 million is with local suppliers, and £157 million is with SMEs.

"As part of our economic strategy, we want to work with more local businesses – protecting local jobs and benefiting from the skills and services that the Southampton business scene offers.

"We’ve recently revised our procurement process to help us do just that."

Cllr Leggett added: "Another factor we’re focusing on is to make our operations more sustainable through our procurement, so we’re also assessing bids against our Green City Plan 2030. Again, those businesses who can demonstrate a sustainability benefit, as relevant to the contract may have an advantage. That could be using green technology; for local businesses, it could involve demonstrating how working with you would reduce the transport costs and carbon footprint, compared to a national supplier.

"Our aim with this is to enhance the local economic, social and environmental benefit we can achieve through the money the council spends.

"Our Social Value and Green City Procurement Policy links closely to the Southampton Pound initiative, which centres around the vision that the money made and generated in the city should support and bolster the local economy and bring social and environmental benefit.

"Our Rebuild Local approach is designed to help us recover as quickly and strongly as possible from the effects of the pandemic. This is a big challenge and we need to make sure that we keep in mind that the challenges that existed before the pandemic have not gone away – climate change, unemployment, loneliness, the list is pretty long. Social Value is a step towards rebuilding locally.

"Local businesses often already deliver Social Value without knowing it, for example by employing local people, carrying out school visits or using local suppliers.

"Take a look at the following criteria and see how you could compete. We aim to:

  • Support the local economy including encouraging spending locally and creating employment opportunities for local people.
  • Encourage suppliers to deliver social value requirements innovatively and cost-effectively.
  • Use our contracts with suppliers to encourage a sustainable approach
  • Provide tendering opportunities that are suitable for and accessible to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSEs)
  • Work with suppliers who demonstrate our Social Value and Green City Procurement Principles.
  • Value-for-money - generating benefits to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment.
  • Source more goods, services and works locally.
  • Ethically and sustainably sourcing through supply chains.

"In short, going for a Southampton City Council contract could very well be worth your while.

"To get businesses started with this opportunity, there is a lot of help on our website on how to apply for a council contract.

"Information on social value within our procurement processes, together with handy guides can be found here.

"We are also actively supporting local SMEs to access Council procurement opportunities through regular “meet the buyer” sessions. Subscribe to our Business News e-alert to find out the latest dates."