The Deputy Leader of the Council (Investment and Partnerships), Councillor Paul McGlone introduced the report and explained that the Lambeth Procurement Policy was essential for ensuring probity in procurement and value for money for tax payers. He also noted the significant achievement that 97% of applicable Lambeth contracts over £100,000 now paid staff the London Living Wage.
In response to questions from Members, the Head of Procurement, Rachel Willsher, explained that:
· The key principle of the new policy was the development of a Category Management approach. This would bring all staff together into one team, joining up resources and allowing the council to approach procurement activity holistically. The Procurement team had recruited two new Category Managers who were helping to establish this approach, broaden the team’s understanding of the market and delivering savings.
· The Category Management approach was helping the Procurement team to work more effectively with commissioners.
· The evaluation criteria used in the procurement process would be revised under the new policy. Quality would hereby comprise 30% of the available marks and cost the remaining 70%. Social value would be included within the assessment of quality and was expected to be of no additional cost.
· The 70/30 evaluation split between quality and cost did not feature in the policy document but would be agreed by the Cabinet as part of this decision. Its inclusion within the policy document would be considered separately moving forward.
· All external suppliers had to declare whether they had an equalities policy. The council did not however assess the composition of staff employed by suppliers in terms of equality.
· The Communications and Policy team was responsible for the development of the Social Value Policy.
· Officers did not expect any short term impacts of Brexit as the new Procurement Policy followed UK law.
Members of the Cabinet commented that:
· There were safeguards in the policy to ensure that quality was not sacrificed in the pursuit of a cheap prices.
· Social value was wider than procurement and would be incorporated into the manner in which the council delivered the Borough Plan.
· The new evaluation criteria was a statement of intent but would remain variable.
· The Equalities Commission should assess whether the procurement process could go further in ensuring that external contractors had fair staffing practices.
1) To approve the Procurement Policy set out in Appendix 1 which is intended to cover all procurement and commercial activity including services, goods, works and concessions. It builds on and supersedes previous Lambeth procurement strategies.
2) To approve the revised evaluation criteria as outlined in paragraph 2.8 of the report.