Businesses in the Mansfield area will benefit from changes to the way one of the district’s largest employers obtains goods and services.
Mansfield District Council, which spends £40m a year on works, goods and services, has updated its procurement policy to put a greater emphasis on social, environmental and economic factors.
The main aims of the strategy are to keep money in the local area; put Mansfield's residents and businesses at the heart of everything; and take into account environmental responsibility and sustainability.
In practice, this could include encouraging employment and training opportunities in disadvantaged communities, considering the effect on the environment and carbon footprint and breaking larger pieces of work into several smaller projects so that smaller companies can apply to carry out the work.
The council must follow a procurement process for goods and services costing more than £5,000. Procurement ensures the council is working to the latest council and central government policies and procedures and that the most cost and time effective methods and materials are used. It covers the entire process - from identifying a need for goods or services to overseeing the contract for its lifetime.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams presented the strategy to invited guests who attended the latest Developers Forum on 13 May.
The Mayor said: “We believe it is important to consider the social, economic and environmental implications of choosing partners to work with and companies to deliver goods and services. For example, the cheapest option may not provide the best quality outcome. We also want to use local businesses, where possible, to support our district’s existing workforces and use their skills.
“In line with the council’s Making Mansfield to 2030 strategy and core values of growth, aspiration, wellbeing and place, procurement decisions will support the local economy, be sustainable and responsible, and have Mansfield and its stakeholders at the heart of all planned activities.
“We recognise the importance of considering our effect on the environment and carbon footprint when making procurement decisions too.”
One of the first projects to benefit from the new policy is the construction of four ultra-low energy council homes for affordable rent on the site of the former tenants’ meeting room on Saundby Avenue.
They are being built to a Passivhaus design which reduces their ecological footprint and results in them needing little energy for heating or cooling.
As part of the contract with local developers Robert Woodhead Ltd, the project will create local training and employment opportunities, support local supply chain companies, involve schoolchildren and community organisations, reduce carbon emissions through the planting of trees and by recycling a high percentage of construction waste.