View of Liverpool Town Hall of a day from Castle Street

Contract shake up to boost jobs

A massive shake up of major contracts at Liverpool City Council will see priority given to firms that commit to creating jobs and skills locally.

A report to the Mayor’s Cabinet on Friday 5 October is recommending placing an emphasis on using socially responsible contractors and suppliers when procuring the £270 million budget for buying in goods and services from third parties.

A new Procurement Board is being set up which will co-ordinate all activity across the council with the aim of using the council’s buying power to have a positive impact on jobs and skills.

Within existing EU and Best Value legislation, the city council will seek to prefer:

  • Organisations with a smaller gap between the highest and lowest paid staff (pay multiple)
  • Social enterprises which plough their profits back in to developing the business
  • Firms which can demonstrate clear local benefits

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Finance, Councillor Paul Brant, said: “The new procurement policy is a shift towards making sure every penny of our spending benefits local people.

“The city council spends substantial amounts of money and it has the potential to really boost the local economy.

“This is about saying to firms that, in return for being awarded major contracts, we want them to demonstrate their commitment to developing jobs and skills in the city.

“We hope it will particularly help local suppliers, boost social enterprise and encourage small and medium sized enterprises to grow.”

When awarding contracts, the council will consider what recruitment and training, subcontract and supply chain opportunities can be obtained to benefit the local community.

It could mean that work experience, training, equal opportunities and the recruitment of apprentices are stipulated as part of the contract specification. Businesses can choose to either absorb the cost, pass it on to the city council or use Government initiatives such as the Young Person’s Guarantee to offset it.

The new policy means that:

  • Jobs and skills contract clauses will be considered first when awarding all new service and construction framework* agreements, or contracts which have an annual value of more than £1 million
  • All existing service and construction contracts that are framework contracts or have an annual value of more than £5 million will be subject to negotiated voluntary agreements
  • All existing goods/product supply contracts with a value of more than £1 million and existing service and construction contracts that are framework contracts or have an annual value of £1 – £5 million will be subject to a jobs and skills charter. This will encourage firms to adopt best practices around targeted recruitment and training for local people

The proposal goes further than the Government’s new Social Value Act, which comes into force in January. It requires public services to consider how services which are commissioned and procured might improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area – but does not apply to framework, works or supplies contracts.

To support the implementation of the policy, awareness raising and training will be given to city council staff. Recruitment and skills advice will be provided to employers by Liverpool In Work – the council’s employer engagement team.