Social value is a key factor in deciding how council contracts are awarded in Lichfield and Burntwood, councillors have been told.

Lichfield District Council House
Lichfield District Council House

A meeting of Lichfield District Council earlier this week was told it was a “golden thread” running through strategies implemented by the local authority.

The assurances from Cllr Rob Strachan, cabinet member for finance and procurement, came after Labour’s Cllr Colin Ball had called for more to be done to ensure local procurement was at the heart of decision-making when deals were being agreed.

Cllr Ball said:

“Two years ago now we passed a motion here on local procurement and we said it was an urgent matter we needed to deal with.

“It would help in our aim to reduce climate change by sourcing items locally and would improve and support local businesses.

“I hope the cabinet will move this more urgently than it has been done. I know Covid has got in the way but it does need to be dealt with promptly now.”

Cllr Colin Ball, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Strachan said that while the term local procurement wasn’t being used, it didn’t mean the council was not considering it.

Cllr Rob Strachan
Cllr Rob Strachan

“Procuring services locally is very high on my agenda – it is a golden thread running through the emerging strategies, we just haven’t called it local procurement.

“It’s about social value and it is something we are paying great attention to, not only for the social value aspect, but also in terms of the climate change emergency we have declared.

“It is important to point out that we are measuring social value in contracts. This includes increasing local employment, so the fact we are measuring it is evidence that we are taking it seriously.”

Cllr Rob Strachan

Cllr Angela Lax, cabinet member for regulatory, housing and health, added the councillors also needed to play their part in ensuring local companies were bidding for contracts.

“I’d encourage all of us if we are meeting with businesses or contractors to play our part and alert them to so that they can find out if they can tender or carry out work.

“I did that with one of our major partners the other day. I said we wanted to procure locally and they said they would look into it.”

Cllr Angela Lax