It is important that we take the following considerations into account:
The worldwide pandemic has had a radical impact on the way in which people and businesses have gone about their daily lives. People and businesses may have experienced the following changes:
- Less use of public transport but greater numbers of people cycling or walking
- An emphasis on homeworking and the use of videoconferencing
- Infrastructure changes to allow for social distancing
- Move to online shopping and closures of High Street shops
- ‘Staycations’ increasing in popularity
- Businesses adapting to market changes and increased innovation
- Volunteering and increased community spirit
We need to build on these changes now that these issues are at the top of the global agenda, and leverage the opportunities created by the pandemic to deliver positive impacts for the future. We need to adapt and build resilience in our supply chains, encourage more research and development whilst understanding the fragility of the marketplace.
We also need to recognise the cost challenges that we face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We may not be able to buy goods of the same quality or our suppliers may have difficulty finding the necessary parts and equipment through their supply chain. We may therefore have to pay more to get the same or consider other options.
It is vital that we embed our Climate Emergency objectives into all areas of the organisation including procurement of goods and services, creating a culture of thinking sustainably at all levels, from CEO down to grass roots. It should become second nature for our staff to ask sustainability questions.
Another important consideration is the tension between the cost of procuring and sustainability. The purchase cost usually increases when goods are labelled as sustainable, however the purchase cost is not the only factor when buying. It is vital to take into consideration the whole-life cost of the goods or service. This can include set up costs, management fees, running and maintenance costs for example.
The act requires commissioners in England and Wales to think about the value they can secure for their area when buying services at the pre-procurement stage: how the services they are going to buy might improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area.
The act was reviewed in 2018 and now would be an ideal time to review our Social Value policy, including how it scores suppliers in tenders and the levels of relevant weightings. The current weighting is 5% maximum for the whole tender evaluation, however, to give us maximum flexibility to deliver on our objectives, it would make sense to review this and adopt a sliding scale to reflect differing marketplaces and service outcomes (See Action 10). However we must be careful to ensure the weighting is proportionate to the procurement and commissioning activity and does not have any unforeseen consequences.
In addition to this, we will look to implement TOMS, a national framework which provides a minimum reporting standard for measuring social value.
We must ensure that we can mitigate the risks and negative impacts of modern slavery issues, such as child labour, and take responsibility for driving ethical procurement and responsible supply chains. We need to put processes in place to ensure we ask the right questions of our suppliers and put in place appropriate checks.