To note the progress of actions from the previous meeting.
An updated action sheet was circulated by the Scrutiny Policy Advisor. The Commission noted the progress of actions from the previous meeting.
In discussion and in response to Members questions, the following points were raised:
a. Officers provided an update on value of the receipts from properties that had been released for sale. It was noted that at the time of the estimated valuations the property market had been depressed and therefore each sale had exceeded original forecast and reflected the current property market. The value had been transferred to the People Directorate. It was noted that the Park View business case was still to be updated.
b. Officers to provide additional detail including the value of each contract and the length of contract terms. Action: Netta Meadows
c. Members commented that SME local spend appeared to be quite low and that it would be useful to have historical perspective to compare the data.
d. Cllr Shah had been asked by the Mayor to look at ways to increase the use of SMEs in Council procurement. Some initiatives under consideration included action to reduce any artificial barriers to local SMEs applying for opportunities, such as increased transparency and improved communication about tendering processes, better use of the Council website and organisation of a biannual seminar for SMEs.
e. Members considered that not many SMES were aware of the ProContract online system which informed subscribers about all of the Council’s procurement opportunities. Members agreed that it would be useful to have a guide on the Council website which provided detailed support for suppliers on how to trade with the council.
f. It was noted that research by FSB had shown that other cities were interested in following the Bristol Pound model. Members asked whether there was potential to use the Bristol Pound as a metric to score suppliers during the tendering process. Action: Alison Slade
g. Cllr Clarke declared an interest as Director of the Bristol Pound.
h. Members commented that the Social Value Act lays the groundwork to develop a strategy for dealing with local SMES which is beneficial to Bristol, and provides the ability to safeguard the local economy by using suppliers that employed a local workforce or contracted to local businesses and which would ensure a better deal for council tax payers. Members considered that the Council should have the ability to use supplier data to understand whether they were based locally for example in the greater Bristol or West of England areas and therefore more likely to employ people who lived in Bristol.
i. It was confirmed that the current SME categories were detailed in the Social Value Toolkit. Members asked whether the current procurement data set could be made accessible to all members and tracked over time. Action: Alison Slade.
j. Members sought clarity over how contracts were awarded with regards to large contracts and whether going after economies of scale could be a false economy that consequently excluded local suppliers. It was suggested that that using local SMEs for services such as grounds maintenance could offer a more nuanced service and better value for money.
k. Members raised concerns that contracts to larger providers have resulted in work being sub contracted to third parties outside of Bristol which are then unaccountable and cited the Warm-up Bristol scheme as an example.