Council commits to ethical procurement policy

Sheffield City Council has committed itself to ensuring high standards of ethical practice in the way it trades, and works with partners, companies and inward investors across the city.

A new focus on ethical trade will improve social outcomes for the citizens of Sheffield.

A new policy document, signed by the council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Olivia Blake, has laid down a series of revisions to protocols, process and tools across Sheffield City Council (SCC) and its supply chain to enable the council to conduct business ethically, effectively and efficiently for the benefit of Sheffield’

In particular the new policy focusses on three key tools:

Social value tests

Ethical Code of Conduct for suppliers, and

New, revised tender processes.

The new policy is designed to ensure that the council’s view of ethical behaviour appears as standard throughout the supply chain, and enables a greater return in terms of social value in Sheffield.

That will mean increasing council spend in the local economy, and through an improved understanding of supplier markets stimulate business growth. The council has committed to bringing in innovative ideas and thinking from the market, and ensuring much greater flexibility into contractual arrangements, which in turn will help to achieve cashable savings

Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council, Councillor Olivia Blake, said:

“This document marks a radical ambition to use our spending power to drive ethical standards and social outcomes in our procurement.

“Cuts that Government have forced upon the City Council in the last seven years have reduced our budget by over £390m putting pressure on services, communities and giving us increasingly difficult choices about how we use the money we do have available. Despite, or indeed because of this, the City Council needs to use its remaining spending power to deliver maximum impact to achieve its social and policy priorities. We do provide many services directly, but a significant proportion of our services are delivered by suppliers, so this puts procurement at the forefront in enabling these objectives.

“Embedding these principles in our procurement practice means we will support and encourage investment in the city’s economy, creating fairer opportunities for local businesses and suppliers to deliver local contracts which in turn, can create good local jobs.

“Sheffield City Council has set out its stall out by being a leading Living Wage employer but we are only responsible for a proportion of the money invested in services, contracts and products in Sheffield. We believe that the Ethical Procurement Framework represents an opportunity for all of Sheffield’s key institutions and partners – hospitals, businesses, universities – to use our collective financial power to get the best value and best opportunities for Sheffielders and local businesses.”

In parallel to the new policy announcement, Sheffield City Council’s Procurement and Supply Chain Team has been shortlisted for the National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards in two categories; The Sustainable Procurement Award, and the Procurement Team of the Year Award.

Welcoming the shortlist Councillor Blake said,

“This is great news for a great team of officers, and clear independent evidence that the work being done is of a high quality, providing the kind of excellent basis on which we can move forward to deliver the new Ethical Procurement Policy”.

The new ethical procurement framework is a clear commitment to:

  • maximising the council’s ability to use its discretion to apply ethical standards to behaviour  throughout its supply chain.
  • using the money the council spends to increase the social value and benefits for local people and businesses. This means that companies the council contracts with must share our desire to create a city economy that works for all by paying their taxes, respecting workers’ rights and equal opportunities, and invest in the talents of their employees through good training and healthy, safe working conditions. We want to encourage companies to think about the wider social impact on Sheffield communities of their activity.

The policy requires all internal staff, partners and suppliers to work to new standards which will focus on trade with those who comply with an ethical code of conduct while excluding suppliers committing acts of grave misconduct.

Full document available here: http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=2023