This Corporate Procurement Strategy (CPS) sets out the vision and strategic aims which direct and govern our procurement activities, together with an action plan. The strategy covers our approach to the procurement of all works, goods and services we will undertake for the period 2014-2018. The strategy is complemented by a suite of policies, processes and toolkits for use by YHN staff, which can be found on the YHN intranet.
Procurement is the process by which we obtain goods, services and works. All of our services involve procurement. There is a direct link between good procurement and the delivery of high quality and cost effective services to our customers.
Our vision is to ensure that effective procurement positively contributes to our strategic objectives and service improvements for customers. Our procurement action plan (Appendix 1) shows how we will achieve this.
YHN was set up by Newcastle City Council (NCC) as an Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) in 2004 to manage council properties, to improve housing in order to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard, and to provide a range of support services for NCC. Through our management agreement with NCC, the procurement of all goods and services is delegated to YHN. Our current management agreement runs until 2016, and any changes to the agreement after 2016 will be reflected in updates of the CPS. The way we procure goods is overseen by the YHN Board through regular update reports and discussions around key procurement issues.
In April 2009 NCC and YHN set up Leazes Homes as a charity to provide high quality, affordable accommodation to people in need. Leazes Homes is now a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and is registered with the Homes and Community Agency as a provider of social housing.
The Byker Community Trust was established in July 2012 with NCC council owned properties being transferred to the trust, and managed through a management agreement with YHN.
YHN’s Procurement Team procures goods and services on behalf of NCC (Housing Revenue Account), Leazes Homes and the Byker Community Trust. This strategy has been developed to ensure that an effective and consistent approach to procurement is taken across all the procurements undertaken by YHN.
2. Where we are now
Since 2004, significant progress has been made in the development of the procurement function. Key achievements to date include:
- Completion of a number of major procurements including:
- Modern Homes programme framework
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Developer Framework
- Painting Programme
- Furniture Service Supply Framework
- Byker District and Group Heating upgrades, including the installation and funding of a biomass boiler and gas fired combined heat and power boiler.
- Own your Own
- Creation of a dedicated procurement team
- Implementation of contract database
- Implementation of e-tendering system
- Delivery of procurement services to both Leazes Homes and the Byker Community Trust
- Generation of procurement savings through:
- Increased membership of consortia and the use of framework agreements
- Greater use of corporate contracts in conjunction with Newcastle City Council
- Aggregation of spend to improve purchasing power
- More effective control of our needs and the specifications which has minimised contractor price rises
- Regulation of contract extensions.
These activities have resulted in significant improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the procurement function within YHN, linked to increased value for money, savings and wider social, economic and environmental benefits over several years.
3. Why we need this strategy
This strategy has been developed to align our procurement activity with NCC priorities and the YHN Business Strategy 2013-16. In addition the tables below summarise key national and local drivers impacting on this strategy.
- Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 – places a duty on commissioners of services to consider economic, environmental and social benefits as part of the procurement process.
- EU procurement legislation - sets out the legal requirements for free trade, open and fair competition, non-discrimination, equality and transparency in procurement and commissioning and is incorporated into Public Contracts Regulations.
- Procurement consortia – several local and national procurement consortia for the social housing sector have been established to reduce costs and improve quality through collective purchasing.
- Single Equality Act - sees the procurement function as pivotal in driving through the equality and diversity agenda.
- Comprehensive Spending Reviews (CSR) 2010 & 2013 – Together these cover the period to 2015-16 and align the allocation of public resources with the Government’s overall objectives as set out in the Coalition Agreement.
- The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is instrumental in driving forward employment and training initiatives and securing increased value for money through procurement, as part of its Affordable Homes Programme.
- The Government’s Construction Strategy (May 2011) – is intended to reform the way in which government procures construction across all sectors, and in doing so will, it is hoped, reduce costs by up to 20% by 2015.
- The Governments Sustainable Procurement Action Plan “Procuring the Future” - developed by the Sustainable Procurement Task Force to help overcome barriers to sustainable procurement as part of the Governments Sustainable Development Strategy goal of making the UK a leader in the EU in sustainable procurement.
- Newcastle City Council’s Commissioning and Procurement Plan - As a wholly owned subsidiary of Newcastle City Council YHN’s procurement strategy supports and underpins the Cities strategic objectives and goals.
- YHN Business Strategy - Our business strategy sets out the principles by which our future decisions will be guided. It explains what our purpose is as an organisation, and sets out our strategic direction. It also explains how we intend to meet our strategic objectives and provides us and our customers with an overview of our direction. The CPS underpins our business strategy as we recognise that effective and efficient procurement is fundamental to the on-going success of our organisation.
- YHN Delivery Plan - Our delivery plan, which is incorporated into the business strategy, sets out how we intend to achieve our strategic objectives on an annual basis. It is an operational document that identifies all our corporate (Top 20) and key service targets, including targets for our Business Development and Procurement Team
- YHN Finance Strategy - This is aligned with the Business Strategy and enables us to sustain a healthy financial position which will ultimately allow us to continue to provide excellent services for our customers. The Procurement Strategy underpins this strategy.
- YHN Value for Money Strategy - Our VFM Strategy outlines how we deliver value for money to all our customers, stakeholders and partners through optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of all our in-house and external services. As a key contributor to value for money, the CPS specifically addresses our strategic approach to improving our current procurement processes.
- Environmental Sustainability Policy Statement- This sets out our vision to become a leader on environmental sustainability and demonstrates our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our business activities and is incorporated into our Asset Management Strategy. This means providing good quality, energy efficient homes and adopting the principles of “green procurement”. The CPS underpins this vision and outlines our commitment to sustainable procurement by adopting an effective and consistent approach, to ensure that environmental issues are identified and considered at all stages of procurement.
- YHN Skills to Work Strategy - Our Skills to Work Strategy sets out how we create opportunities that enable our tenants and residents to improve their employability, become financially independent and move away from benefit dependency. We recognise the potential to create jobs or training opportunities with procurement partners and the two strategies have been closely aligned to reflect this.
- Customer Service Strategy – Every Customer Matters– This explains our commitment to our customers to provide excellent and accessible services. It includes information about how we involve and empower our customers to improve services. In the Customer Service Strategy we explain our commitment to using customer insight and involving customers in our processes and the delivery of services, and our Procurement Strategy reflects this commitment in the way we procure goods and services.
- Corporate Equality Policy - This is our overarching document outlining our strategic approach to promoting our equality and diversity agenda. It includes actions on removing barriers to accessing services and further embedding equality and diversity throughout the organisation.
4. Our Strategic Priorities (What we will do)
The YHN Business Strategy 2013 – 2016 explains our overall purpose and our strategic objectives and this procurement strategy supports delivery of our business strategy. This section explains how we intend to do this with specific actions and targets included in the action plan, at Appendix 1.
The tables below set out our strategic objectives and the way in which procurement activities support them.
4.1 Make the money deliver
Efficiency and value for money
- We will continuously improve the way in which we procure to improve our services in terms of value for money, quality, effectiveness and efficiency
- We will pursue savings in all of our procurement activities
- We will encourage our suppliers to be innovative and to do more for less
- We will only use external professional services where we are sure a procurement will provide value for money and is the most efficient and effective means of achieving our objectives
We need to ensure that efficiency and value for money is delivered across all aspects of procurement in YHN.
We have set challenging targets in our action plan to improve efficiency and value for money, which we will achieve through effective management of our procurement process (see Section 6.4). For example, options appraisal is the stage of the process that requires the most detailed work and innovative thought about service provision. It is critical that the appraisal is based on firm foundations of service definition and market intelligence.
In addition external professional services will only be used when necessary and in accordance with our guidelines and Financial Regulations.
Doing business electronically
- We will find better, more effective ways to do business
- We will use information and communications technology to improve accessibility to our tender opportunities and increase competition
E-procurement, or doing business electronically, is an increasingly important way of procuring goods and services. We will use information and communications technology to improve:-
- accessibility to our tender opportunities and
- the efficiency and effectiveness of our activities, including the piloting of an e-auction
Consequently our partners and suppliers will be encouraged to do business electronically to reduce costs and improve communication.
- We will undertake collaborative procurement with the other public sector organisations within the City for the benefit of the City and to achieve improved outcomes as well as value for money.
Innovative collaboration is about dismantling traditional ways of thinking about and managing procurement relationships. We are committed to exploring new ways of working with our partners and other organisations. We have relationships with a number of organisations who we can collaborate and benchmark with to create efficiencies and value for money savings. Such organisations include North Eastern Purchasing Organisation (NEPO), Procurement for Housing (PFH), NE Procurement (NEP), Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) and Crown Commercial Services (CCS).
4.2 Create homes and neighbourhoods we all can be proud of
Sustainability (social, economic and environmental)
- We are committed to sustainable procurement to achieve value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to YHN but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment
- We will recognise (within the confines of public procurement law) how social value linked to economic, social and environmental improvements can be made for local communities through our procurement activities
- We will seek to ensure that decision makers consider the environmental impact of commissioning proposals and cease wherever possible to procure solutions that are environmentally damaging
- We will apply a simple environmental assessment to all procurement requests, where appropriate
Sustainable procurement has been defined, by the Government’s Sustainable Procurement Task Force, as “a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, works and services including utilities, in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life costing basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment”.
Our action plan shows our commitment to sustainable procurement. We will use our procurement process to ensure that social, economic and environmental issues are considered at every stage and as part of the whole life cost of a contract, in line with our obligations under the Social Value Act (2012). We will also promote good sustainable practice with those we do business with. We use the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Flexible Framework for Sustainable Procurement to drive this forward.
Specific ways in which we will use sustainable procurement to benefit the local community and local economy are through encouraging local purchasing of goods and services and creating local employment and training opportunities. This includes where appropriate adopting provision under Article 19 of the public sector procurement directive to reserve contracts for supported factories and businesses who employ disabled staff.
Our commitment to ”Green procurement” means reducing the environmental impacts of our procurement activities. Green procurement is relevant to most areas of business activity from construction, furniture, IT equipment to transport. By making informed choices about the products we buy, we will make a real difference to the environment. Through Green procurement products and services that minimise environmental impacts will be selected. We will also use our purchasing power to promote productive use of resources and materials. This means integrating environmental considerations into all stages of procurement; from avoiding unnecessary purchases and identifying greener products, to the specifications used for contracts and whole life costing.
Green products are made or operate in a way that:
- Uses fewer natural resources
- Contains fewer hazardous or toxic materials
- Has a longer life span
- Consumes less energy or water in production or use
- Can be reused or recycled on disposal
- Generates less waste, for example by being made from recycled materials, using less packaging or being recycled by the supplier.
Community and customer engagement
- We will conduct our procurement processes, so that wherever possible, we can secure community improvements relating to the subject matter of our contracts
We are committed to listening and talking to our communities and customers about what they want. Our values and overall strategy are set out in our Customer Service Strategy. Where we can involve customers in procurement, service users and community organisations will play a key role in options appraisals for key services and regeneration projects where their involvement is an essential part of the process.
Examples of how we engage with customers include involving them in procuring goods that we buy for our furniture service NFS, and involving a YHN Board Tenant Representative in evaluating tender submissions from suppliers.
Equality and Diversity
- We strongly support equal opportunity, equal access and positive outcomes for all sections of the community when procuring goods, works and services
- We will aim to ensure that organisations which provide services on our behalf comply with equality legislation and promote equality, to ensure that people and communities fulfilling their true potential
The Equality Act 2010 requires public authorities, in exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act.
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
- Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.
In order to ensure that we meet our legal obligations, and to underpin our strong commitment to equality issues, we have carried out an Equality Impact Assessment as part of the development of this strategy. This has shown us that the CPS only has positive outcomes for protected characteristic groups.
Examples of these positive impacts include use of Article 19 procurement where possible, and requirements in our procurement documents that cover the equality performance of those who are tendering to provide goods or services.
4.3 Work together to realise a brighter future
- We are committed to ensuring fairness is considered in relation to every significant procurement decision made and this will be incorporated into the role of our Board
- As a Fairtrade City we will use the procurement process to encourage our suppliers to consider Fairtrade products in the knowledge that this can improve the lives of farmers and workers and their communities in developing countries.
Fair Trade is an organised social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries to promote sustainability. It advocates payment of a fair price, as well as social and environmental standards, in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods. Fair Trade’s strategic intent is to work with marginalised producers and workers in order to help them move towards economic self-sufficiency and stability.
Products from developing countries are often sold at prices that do not afford their producers a decent standard of living. ‘Fair Trade’ aims to alleviate poverty and "humanises" the trade process by making the producer-consumer chain as short as possible so that consumers become aware of the culture, identity and conditions in which producers live.
Newcastle has been a “Fair Trade City” since February 2003. We are committed to increasing awareness of Fair Trade in Newcastle to explore the scope for procuring Fair Trade products.
- We will work with local suppliers and the Voluntary community sector to consider the scope for further improvements in our procurement processes
- We will ensure that locally based organisations are ‘procurement ready’ and have the skills and knowledge to benefit from public sector procurement opportunities
- We will package our contracts to maximise the local economic and employment benefits for our Working City
- We will promote the creation of apprenticeships and traineeships through the Council’s procurement processes, ensuring that companies awarded large public sector contracts support the development of new skills
We value the contribution to service provision made by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), social enterprises (SEs), voluntary and community-sector suppliers, and black minority ethnic groups (BMEs). We are committed to working with a diverse range of suppliers to ensure they are given every opportunity to understand our requirements and gear themselves up for procurement opportunities.
We can help improve community well-being both in the local and regional economies by encouraging local purchasing of goods and services and creating employment and training opportunities. We recognise the potential to use jobs created as part of procurement contracts to help our customers improve their employability and get into work. We will amend the procurement/new build tender application process so that tendering contractors have to say how they will support our employability agenda by offering opportunities for our tenants. When a contract is awarded we will work with the contractor to help fulfil these commitments.
Focus on service needs
- We will proactively engage service users wherever we can to consider what might be the unintended consequences of procurement options before plans are put in place or decisions are made
It is important that the needs of service users are fully analysed and considered during any procurement process. This analysis must take account of the current level of met and unmet needs and how this may change in the future.
5. How we will make it happen
5.1 Governance and Leadership
We have established governance arrangements to provide leadership and clear direction to all of our procurement activities. The key groups and individuals are outlined below:-
- Governance of major procurement projects.
Finance and Resources Committee
- Delegated authority for the development and implementation of this Strategy; and
- Responsible for delivery of YHN’s Corporate Procurement Strategy.
Development and Procurement Team
- Central point of contact for all procurements; and
- identifying and delivering procurements, providing procurement and contract management support and advice: and
- sign posting to the most appropriate source of expertise; and
- reporting progress against the Procurement Strategy Action Plan
5.2 Policies, processes and toolkits supporting this strategy
We have developed a range of key policies, processes and toolkits to support the delivery of a high quality, effective and consistent approach to procurement across YHN, which are available to all our staff through our staff intranet. These are revised, added to and updated regularly
5.3 Responsibility for the procurement strategy
Responsibility for the development and implementation of our procurement strategy lies with the YHN Finance and Resources Committee, in conjunction with the Chief Executive who has overall responsibility for ensuring delivering of our procurement strategy.
5.4 Procurement cycle
Traditionally procurement activity has focussed predominantly on the specification and tendering stage of the contract process. However it is now widely acknowledged that the benefits of optimising the experience and expertise of procurement professionals has a much wider reach and should be maximised throughout the entire procurement process from the definition of requirements to the ultimate disposal of the asset.
5.5 Monitoring and review
The YHN Chief Executive will review progress against the action plan on a regular basis.
Reports will be submitted annually to Finance and Resources Committee providing an update on progress and outcomes achieved. The Committee is made up of YHN Board members from all constituent groups.
The next full review of the Procurement Strategy will be in 2018, however as a living document the action plan will be reviewed annually in the interim.
Contracts can be viewed by visiting our electronic tendering web site.
This link will take you directly to the North East Procurement Organisation Portal where all 12 local authorities in the North East advertise procurement opportunities.