Friday, 12 June 2009

Boost for local firms over council tenders

Changes in the way Wrexham Council puts out work for tender could see a real boost for local firms.

A meeting between Plaid Cymru and senior officers at the council heard that changes being proposed to the council procurement strategy was placing support for the local economy and sustainability at the forefront of council priorities.

Cllr Arfon Jones, Plaid member for Gwersyllt West, said: "Since we were elected a year ago, we have been pushing Wrexham Council for a change in emphasis to ensure that local companies weren't excluded from the tendering process because they couldn't compete with the big multinationals. I'm glad that this seems to have been taken on board and we will see jobs and skills retained in the local economy to a greater extent.

"There is a greater awareness that large contracts need to be broken down to enable the smaller enterprises to compete and that is a real step in the right direction. Councils and other public sector organisations have got a big role to play in boosting the local economy after all the job losses we have faced recently - this is one way forward. Plaid councillors will continue to monitor the situation and keep pressing for public money to remain, as much as possible, in the local economy."

North Wales Assembly Member Janet Ryder also welcomed the news that a new North Wales Procurement Partnership between the six councils stretching from Anglesey to Wrexham was aiming to ensure that tenders were broken down into smaller lots that local firms could bid for.

She said: "Many local firms across North Wales have contacted me over the past 12 months with concerns about the way they are excluded from tendering for some projects under a system that has favoured the larger companies. This means that skilled work is being lost and public money is being spent elsewhere when it could remain in the local economy.

"The multinationals that win these tenders often then sub-contract the work to local firms but keep the cream of the tender for themselves. That means we're losing the more skilled work from the local economy. I'm very pleased that Wrexham Council has listened to their calls and is moving towards a strategy that will enable them to compete fairly for contracts.

"Perhaps the most frustrating thing for local firms is the different criteria that have been used by different councils across North Wales to qualify for tenders and these often differ from the Assembly Government's criteria. The new partnership will hopefully see a move towards more standardisation of contracts.

"I'm also very keen to ensure that this has the maximum benefit for the likes of Remploy, which is bidding for council business and will not now be excluded because of its size."

The new procurement strategy will be going before Wrexham Council's executive board on June 30 for approval.


Anonymous said...

Here we go again.. Plaid capitalising on the hard work of officers which have had cross party support at a scrutiny committee.

Nice to see Plaid were interested at that stage of the process.

All parties and businesses have been lobbying on this for some time.

This is no achievement for Plaid Cymru socialists.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Some companies will tell you that Wrecsam Council are miles behind other councils especially when making financial assessments of companies tendering so whatever you've done as a Scrutiny Committee isn't obviously apparent is it? Which speaks volumes!

Pelagius said...

Plaid councillors were pushing this policy via the Welsh Purchasing Consortium years before other parties even asked the question. It became national policy after that, which is why council officers support it now.

So Plaid Wrecsam is following through locally on a clear Plaid initiative from day one. Credit where credit's due.