Since Rochdale Council launched a campaign last year to increase the amount of money it spends locally, the figure has increased from £21.2 million to £34.58 million – up from 12 per cent of its controllable spend to 23 per cent.
The campaign aimed to get more local businesses registered on 'The Chest', the online procurement portal managed by its award-winning team, STAR Procurement. Being registered on the portal as a business means suppliers have access to information about contract opportunities with the Council and other public bodies, including Stockport, Tameside and Trafford councils.
The decision to give more weighting to 'social value' (the community benefit created by using local businesses) helped businesses in the borough to secure contracts. STAR also helped increase the amount spent locally by running a series of events to coach businesses on how to bid for work and understand social value. STAR also delivered a series of workshops for Council staff managing contracts.
The increase came after a £6 million contract for work on the new Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development was awarded to local groundworks and civil engineering company, Hovington, who benefitted from a council directive that local businesses benefit from the project.
Building contractor Willmott Dixon says it could spend more than £21 million with local sub-contractors, as part of its commitment to ensure 80 per cent of their spend on Rochdale Riverside is committed within Greater Manchester, with 30 per cent spent in the borough of Rochdale.
Councillor Liam O'Rourke, the Council's Cabinet Member for Resources, welcomed the news: "It's really important that as a council we are investing in our local communities and using the many great businesses we have here whenever we can. It is vital that we are giving our excellent local businesses the opportunities they deserve and creating more of a level playing field for them."
STAR Procurement Director Lorraine Cox said: "We have been working really hard to engage with local businesses in Rochdale and I'm really proud to be able to say that after only a year into my role with STAR Procurement we can say that we have had such a big impact on the Council's local spend. But there is so much more we can do."
Kieren McDonnell, Managing Director of Rochdale construction and social housing company Jackson and Jackson, which employs about 100 people, said: "We are very pleased to be involved with Rochdale Borough Council and very pleased that the money spent by the local authority is fed back into local businesses."
Posted on Monday 19th November 2018