Procurement in regeneration – RegenWM Prizes 2010 results

20th October 2010

"Procurement is one of the few levers left to the public sector for driving regeneration forward" (Conrad Parke, RegenWM Head of Skills).


Finditinsandwell (Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council)

Increasing the economic impact of SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) and pursuing a government goal of seeing 30% of public sector work placed with SMEs has spurred Sandwell MBC to review its procurement practices.  Research found that local SMEs felt the tender opportunities Sandwell offered were inaccessible and out of their league.  In response, Sandwell launched finditinsandwell, a free online trade directory to stimulate the local economy – and at the same time reduce companies’ carbon footprints – by directly matching local buyers with suitable local suppliers.  Along with this, the council provided supplier development opportunities such as training courses, tendering workshops and networking events, thus removing many of the excuses big buyers may make to avoid procuring from SMEs.   

  • Help from industry experts to devise a two-day course raising local construction frims’ awareness of the six Construction Commitments to improve their chances of creating a good PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire)
  • Buy-in from chief executive level within the council, and measures – including audits – to change the procurement culture within the council, so that its annual spend of £300m stays within Sandwell as far as possible
  • Breaking down contracts offered by the council into SME-sized chunks and welcoming collaborative bids from SMEs
  • Conditions within contracts to
  • Since 2007, over £500m of business opportunities made available to local organisations with over £12 m of direct business generated for Sandwell SMEs in the first two years; now almost 8500 members of the website

Highly commended

Walsall Waterfront South

A mixed use canalside scheme with 322 eco-friendly affordable apartments and homes – applying ‘Building for Life’ principles – and 4000m2 of commercial/retail space has provided opportunities for local procurement throughout its development.  Jessup, a Midlands-based company with an ethos of working only in the Midlands and supporting local business and local employment, found 200 new contacts directly relevant to the project via a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event, with four contractors new to the company gaining a total of £3m of work on the initial construction phase.  During the first seven months of the contract period Jessup spent over £7m in the local economy; of the £40m total cost of phases one and two they confidently expect at least half to be spent locally. 

  • Walsall Regeneration Company acted as the ‘glue’ to bring major partners together – excellent and wide-ranging partnership working brought results such as speedy planning permission, good links with Walsall College vocational courses, and huge interest in the ‘Meet the Buyer’ event which then further strengthened partner relationships
  • Close working with the Homes and Communities Agency saw investment from them of over £15m and the Walsall Waterfront South development playing a starring role in the HCA’s exemplar film to guide other developers   
  • Collaboration with local employment agencies, JobCentre Plus and Walsall College has led directly to contractors taking on trainees and apprentices
  • An open book approach and always endeavouring to conform to requirements such as the HCA’s sustainability, community and employment agenda and Walsall Council’s regeneration policy   
  • The recession provided time to research new building technologies and energy systems and pilot them in some of Jessup’s other smaller developments

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