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Award-winning policy framework in Greater Manchester

The ten Greater Manchester Authorities are working collaboratively on a programme of ‘better buying’ in response to the need to make further economic, social and environmental improvements.

AGMA’s (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) procurement hub is managing the programme, which includes the Greater Manchester councils and their partners and associate members including Blackpool, Blackburn, Cheshire East and Warrington.

Achieving a savings target of £25m in the first three years, the procurement hub has now been recognised for its achievements with two awards from The Society of Procurement Officers Spring Conference Annual Awards: for Excellence in Delivering Social Value (as overall winner) and a finalist for Best Collaborative Tender.

Peter Schofield, AGMA Procurement Hub Manager, said: “This is a real achievement and the awards recognise that we have adopted a strategic approach but most importantly that we have been effective in putting this into practice.

“We are aiming to show that Greater Manchester is an exemplar for good collaborative working.”

Excellence in Delivering Social Value

In 2014, the heads of procurement from all GM councils commissioned the development of a bespoke social value policy and framework that Greater Manchester authorities could adopt and adapt to fit into existing procurement policies. The Greater Manchester Social Value Policy was approved by the GMCA last November.

Created with the ESTA Project at the Manchester Growth Company, the policy, developed in collaboration with AGMA authorities and partners, provides:
• An agreed standard definition of social value
• Clarity around the type of procurement activity that social value should be considered for
• An agreed set of social value objectives which reflect the Greater Manchester Strategy ‘Stronger Together’

In addition a range of tools were developed to support the implementation of the policy. These include training materials for local authority Commissioners and Procurers and a range of case studies to inspire thinking around what is possible. A benchmarking and measurement tool to assess the impact of social value is also being developed.

The approach to better buying not only benefits Greater Manchester, but also aligns with the requirements of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and lays a solid foundation for significant social value to be obtained by AGMA authorities (and its partners).

Supporting Suppliers

The policy also addresses the suppliers and looks to ensure that local suppliers aren’t disadvantaged. Larger contracts can attract bigger suppliers.

Peter Schofield added: “By taking Social Value into account in awarding contracts, it is possible to recognise the contribution that suppliers with a good knowledge of the locality and the challenges faced by GM can make towards achieving the regional medium and long term objectives”