Westminster Social Policy Forum

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Next steps for public service delivery and procurement in local government - the Procurement Bill and implications for LAs, embedding social value, innovation, transparency, accountability, and diversifying supply chains

April 2023

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference brought together policymakers and key stakeholders to discuss next steps for local government procurement, and the way forward for implementation of significant changes to policy.

It was a timely opportunity to discuss issues and opportunities arising from the new rules introduced by the Procurement Bill, currently progressing through Parliament, and how public service provision at a local and regional level will be affected.

Areas for discussion included:

  • moving away from awarding criteria based on price, to include considerations of social value, public benefit, wellbeing and suitability
  • establishing timelines for transparency notices, with a Procurement Review Unit able to investigate concerns around awards and transparency

Delegates considered how best to define, implement and measure social value, and adapt procurement strategies to meet the broader local government objectives, such as economic growth and decarbonisation.

Further sessions looked at ways to streamline procurement regulations for local authorities, priorities for improving transparency and efficiency of procurement systems, and next steps to help local authorities better engage with charities and SMEs.

We also expected discussion on the Local Government Association’s National Procurement Strategy for Local Government in England 2022, as well as its response to the Procurement Bill.

Overall, areas for discussion included:

  • the Procurement Bill: key issues for implementation - adapting rules to suit the needs and goals of local authorities
  • social value: defining, measuring, and implementing social value in procurement
  • collaboration and partnerships: where greater flexibility and discretion in procurement rules might be needed - enabling local authorities to deliver public services more effectively
  • accountability: priorities for the development and use of tools - new technology - improving the consistency of accountability, transparency and scrutiny across local authorities
  • capabilities: tools, training, expertise and support needed - effective and efficient public service delivery
  • SMEs: fostering the inclusion of new and smaller suppliers in the supply mix - priorities for policy - local procurement strategies

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with Lucy Sydney, Head of Strategic Relationships, Procurement Reform, Cabinet Office; Councillor Abi Brown, Chair, LGA Improvement & Innovation Board; Dr Andrew Larner, Chief Executive, Improvement and Efficiency Social Enterprise (iESE); Guy Clifton, Director of Local Government Value for Money, Grant Thornton UK; Professor Chris White, Director, Industrial Policy Research Centre, Manufacturing Technology Centre; and Sam Markey, Ecosystem Director - Place Leadership, Connected Places Catapult.

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside policy officials who attended from the Cabinet Office; CCC; DCMS; Defra; DfE; DESNZ; DLUHC; DfT; DHSC; GLSS; HMRC; Ofcom; POST; and the Welsh Government.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materials, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda