Procurement "is the process of acquiring goods, works and services, covering both acquisition from third parties and from in-house providers. The process spans the whole cycle from identification of needs, through to the end of a services contract or the end of the useful life of an asset. It involves option appraisal and the critical "make or buy" decision which may result in the provision of services in-house in appropriate circumstances".
The Council will make its procurement decisions to further its corporate objectives and on the basis of best value for money (the economically most advantageous offer in the EU and UK regulations). Best Value is defined as "the optimum combination of whole life costs and benefits to meet the customer's requirement". Contracts will not be awarded only on the basis of lowest initial price. There will always be an assessment of quality, benefits and the costs that will be incurred by the Council throughout the life of the asset or contract period.
The Council believes that value for money is delivered by operating a mixed economy of service provision with ready access to a diverse, competitive range of suppliers providing quality services. Key to the creation and maintenance of a competitive range of suppliers is the Council's use of competition for its own procurements wherever possible and appropriate. Our competitive processes will be without inappropriate barriers bearing in mind the balance of potential benefits and process costs both to the Council and those asked to compete. "Inappropriate barriers" can range from restricting access for new entrants to our opportunities to unnecessary obligations on the method of supply or service delivery which stifle change and innovation.
How is procurement delivered?
Wealden District Council approved its first Procurement Strategy in May 2004. The Strategy defines the framework for promoting effective procurement across the whole of the Council and includes a number of targets and objectives. To facilitate delivery of the Corporate Procurement Strategy(pdf 161kb) , the Council has established a small Corporate Procurement Unit. The Corporate Procurement Team has responsibility for promoting and co-ordinating procurement best practice across the Council. Corporate Procurement assist with, and provide guidance and support to, officers involved in any individual Service procurement activities.
The Corporate Procurement Unit also set up corporate contracts and framework agreements for goods and services commonly used across the Council, for example, stationery, paper, gas and electricity. All services drew off these contracts as and when required.
Responsibility for the procurement of individual Service requirements rests with individual managers within those Services.