Cabinet Report


Report of Head of Finance

Author: Angela Cox

Telephone:07761 329169

Textphone: N/A


Wards affected: All


South Cabinet member responsible: Cllr. Leigh Rawlins

Tel: 01189 722565


Vale Cabinet member responsible:  Cllr Andrew Crawford

Tel: 01235 772134



Dates: South Oxfordshire District Council 30 September 2021

Vale of White Horse District Council 1 October 2021



Joint Procurement Strategy


(a) That cabinet approves the Joint Procurement Strategy and the actions within it, as set out in Appendix 1 to this report

(b) That cabinet approves the Procurement Action Plan and the actions within it, as set out in Appendix 2 to this report

(c) That cabinet approves the Ethical Procurement Statement and the actions within it, as set out in Appendix 3 to this report


Purpose of report

1.    For South Cabinet and Vale Cabinet to separately approve the Joint Procurement Strategy.

Corporate objectives

2.    The proposed Joint Procurement Strategy directly supports all of both councils’ corporate priorities and strategic themes


3.    Best practice dictates that organisations should have an overarching Procurement Strategy in place to offer clear guidance for officers when procuring goods and services, whilst at the same time supporting the organisations’ priorities and strategic themes.

4.    The risk to the council in not having a Procurement Strategy is that officers do not have guidelines to follow to ensure that the council is not open to challenge because of their procurement activities.  It is difficult to know whether there are any increased risks at this current time due to contracts already in place.

5.    The Strategy should also offer clear guidance to ensure procurements comply with both statutory requirements and the councils’ own constitutional requirements.

6.    Sitting alongside the Strategy, organisations require an accompanying Procurement Action Plan to set out a program of activities that will help achieve the objectives of the Strategy.

The proposed Procurement Strategy and proposed Procurement Action Plan and Ethical Procurement Statement are attached to this report as Appendix 1, Appendix 2, and Appendix 3 respectively.  Also attached, for information at Appendix 4 is the application of contract procedure rules requirement from the Constitution.


7.    The recommended course of action is for the Strategy and Action Plan to be agreed and adopted by Cabinet.  This will give the councils, and importantly individual service teams, clear direction, and guidance of matters to be considered and procedures to followed when purchasing goods, services and works.  In turn, this will ensure resources are focussed on delivering the councils’ priorities and strategic themes.  Additionally, and not to be underestimated, is by having a clear Strategy and Action Plan it will minimise the risk of non-compliant procurements which could be subject to challenge.

8.    An alternative option, which is not recommended, is to not have a defined Strategy and Action Plan.  This option might be considered as giving service teams more freedom and flexibility in their work without the constraints of a defined framework to operate within.  However, this option would increase the risk of procurements being undertaken that do not support the councils’ priorities and strategic themes and/or procurements being non-compliant and opening the councils up to challenge, and the associated costs that can bring.


Climate and ecological impact implications

9.    Climate change commitments are included within the Strategy at Section 2 (Objectives).  As mentioned above, it is highly important for the councils to have a clear procurement strategy that supports their priorities and strategic themes.  This will help ensure climate and ecological impacts are considered when buying goods, services, and works and therefore support the councils’ priority to tackle the climate emergency.

Financial implications

10. There are no direct financial implications arising from the adoption of a Joint Procurement Strategy.


11. However, by having a clear Strategy and Action Plan the councils will be better placed to ensure value for money is achieved.  Additionally, as mentioned above, this course of action will reduce the likelihood of subsequent (costly) challenges to non-compliant procurements.


Legal implications

12. There are no direct legal implications arising from the adoption of a Joint Procurement Strategy.

13. However, as previously mentioned, by having a clear Strategy and Action Plan the councils will be better placed to reduce the likelihood of subsequent (costly) challenges to non-compliant procurements.


14. If the councils do not adopt the Procurement Strategy and Procurement Action Plan it will increase the risk of procurements not supporting their priorities and strategic themes and/or leaving themselves open to challenge to non-compliant procurements.


15. As set out in the main body report, it is best practice to have a Procurement Strategy and Procurement Action Plan.  This course of action will not only increase the likelihood that the buying of goods, services and works will support the councils’ priorities and strategic themes, it should also improve compliance.


Background papers

·        None







A picture containing text  Description automatically generated                   







Procurement Strategy


2021/22 – 2025/26








1.      Introduction  3

2.      Objectives  3

3.      Governance, structure and Corporate responsibility  4

4.      Procurement policy, procedures, best practice and management Information  5

4.1  Procurement Policies & Procedures. 5

4.2  Countering fraud.. 5

4.3 Management of risk. 6

5.      Ethical Procurement 6

6.      Climate Change  6

7.      Standard of conduct 6

8.      Social Value  6







1.    Introduction


1.1.  This procurement strategy is a high-level document which sets out the approach to show how procurement will support the councils’ corporate plans and their priorities and strategic themes for the next five years


1.2.  The aim of the strategy and its underlying procedures is to bring value for money to the forefront of any expenditure when procuring services, goods and works. The strategy will help to ensure efficient and economic contracts are in place, that are managed well, and help to reduce costs and risk within the supply chain. The strategy will also help to ensure procurements contribute to the economic, social, and environmental benefits for our communities.


1.3.  The strategy establishes the rules to be followed in the procurement of works, goods, and services.


1.4.  DEFINITION: “Procurement is the process of acquiring goods, services and works.  The process spans the whole cycle from the identification of needs, through to the end of a service or contract or the end of the useful life of an asset.  It involves options appraisal and the critical “make or buy” decision which may result in the provision of services in-house in appropriate circumstances”.   [1]


1.5.  The councils’ vision for procurement is to:


·         challenge the buying decisions of the councils

o   is the procurement necessary?

o   is there another way of achieving the end goal?

·         the councils will only procure goods, services, or works when it represents best value[2] to do so

·         actively manage all third-party spend to support growth and reduce complexity, cost, and risk in the supply chain

·         actively manage our suppliers to act in a socially responsible way.  (for example, does a supplier pay their staff the living wage).


Priorities and Strategic Themes of the councils


Vale of White Horse District Council


South Oxfordshire District Council

Providing the homes people need

Homes and Infrastructure that meet local needs

Tackling the climate emergency


Action on the climate emergency

Building healthy communities

Improved economic and community well-being

Building stable finances

Investment that rebuilds our financial viability

Working in an open and inclusive way

Openness and accountability


Working in partnership


Protect and restore our natural world


2.    Objectives


The councils’ intention is to procure goods, services and works that:

1.    provide best value whilst meeting defined and agreed needs for cost and quality and to carry out all procurement in an environmentally, economically, and socially responsible manner in line with corporate plans

2.    ensure all financial commitments and expenditure are managed and controlled in a consistent and effective manner and are conducted in a fair, objective, and transparent process

3.    ensure sustainable procurement is embedded in the councils where the need for goods, services, works, and utilities are procured in such a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefit not only to the councils but also to the local community and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the local environment and reducing carbon emissions

4.    ensure ethical procurement is embedded in the councils by respecting fundamental international standards against criminal conduct (i.e. bribery, corruption and fraud) and human rights abuse (i.e. slavery in modern times) and respond immediately to such matters where they are identified; contributing to improvement to the lives of people involved in supply chains and people that are impacted by decisions made by supply chains

5.    are accessible (through work with economic development colleagues) to local businesses, especially SMEs who may be suitable to bid for certain opportunities, keeping the money in the local economy and reducing the supply chain. In some instances the councils can reserve below threshold procurements for suppliers by location and/or SMEs / VCSEs, where appropriate[3]

6.    ensure opportunities are packaged at an appropriate size to enable SMEs to bid for smaller parts of larger contracts/projects

7.    will support South Oxfordshire District Council’s delivery of its Climate Action Plan and the council’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral within its own operations by 2025

8.    will support Vale of White Horse District Council’s delivery of its Climate Action Plan and the council’s aim for a 75 per cent reduction in carbon emission in their own operations by 2025 and to become carbon neutral by 2030.


3.    Governance, structure and corporate responsibility 


3.1.  The councils have a shared Exchequer and Procurement Service Manager, reporting directly to the Head of Finance who has overall responsibility for the procurement function.

3.2.  The duties of the procurement function include:

1.    To challenge service teams with “do we really need to procure it?” or “can the outcome be achieved in a different way

2.    supplier analysis and category management to identify supplier base, spend per supplier (total and average transactional spend) and spend per commodity as the basis for co-ordinated and efficient procurement and the implementation of this strategy and associated processes and procedures

3.    to assist service teams to develop specifications, qualitative evaluation criteria and contractual targets

4.    to measure suppliers’ ethical and environmental performance against established baselines

5.    to advise and assist contract owners in the control and management of all contracts

(including facilitation, tendering and ongoing performance management to bring improvement to current contracts)

6.    to co-ordinate the actions of employees carrying out procurement activities across the councils in compliance with the strategy

7.    using the online portal to provide alerts for relevant contract opportunities to the market. Proactively advertising to local suppliers

8.    to use the councils’ websites, in conjunction with the Economic Development team to advertise opportunities to local businesses who may not otherwise be aware of opportunities

9.    to encourage service teams to follow the wider Corporate Delivery Framework to ensure the correct approach is taken in regard to governance of a project and the appropriate approvals are sought.


10.  To develop and maintain procurement documentation and information on intranet for use by staff undertaking procurements


3.3.  The procurement function, itself, will be subject to regular internal audits to ensure continued compliance with all policies and procedures.


4.    Procurement policies, procedures, best practice and management information


4.1. Procurement Policies & Procedures


4.1.1. To support service teams in ensuring the above principles are sustained, the councils:


1.   have documented procurement policies

2.    use an online procurement portal to manage the entire procurement process from expression of interest to contract award[4] and allows the secure publication of contract opportunities and the entire procurement process to be open, transparent, and compliant with a full audit trail

3.    have an integrated supplier register in the online portal which is used to introduce competition into the procurement process

4.    have standard quotation, tender and contract documentation to ensure a consistent corporate approach

5.    have a procurement team able to provide advice and guidance

6.    have access to the Government’s Contracts Finder system to advertise contracts (currently over £25k) in line with procurement legislation.


4.1.2       The councils also recognise that to achieve the procurement objectives, they will need to build capacity and skills within the organisation.  As such training programmes will be developed to increase skills of staff engaged in procurement activity.


4.1.3       The councils are committed to ongoing review, of all applicable procurement documentation, processes, and procedures.






4.2. Countering fraud


4.2.1.    The councils are committed to countering fraud and corruption and officers who procure goods, works, and services must be fully aware of the rules and procedures that support this aim.


4.2.2.    Counter-fraud and corruption arrangements should be the consequence of effective business systems, practices, and control arrangements, specifically the:


o   procurement Strategy

o   procurement policies and procedures

o   employees’ code of conduct, which applies to all procurement and especially the sections on relationships with contractors, personal interests, equalities, separation of roles in procuring/tendering, use of financial resources, gifts, and hospitality

o   anti-fraud and anti-corruption policy and process.


4.3. Management of risk


4.3.1.    Risk management is embedded within the councils. The risk when procuring, including that of fraud and corruption, will be a key consideration and an integral part of the procurement process. The councils will identify the risks associated with major procurements and the contingency for service disruption in the corporate risk register, if applicable.

4.3.2.    Procurement activity throughout the councils will be monitored on a regular basis by the Exchequer and Procurement Service Manager.


5.    Ethical Procurement


5.1.  The councils recognise that through the purchase of goods, services and works the resulting contracts should promote ethical procurement. Decisions made during the procurement

process can have a direct effect on socio-economic and environmental implications.


5.2.  The councils’ approach to this is attached as Appendix 3 – Ethical Procurement Statement


6.    Climate and Ecological Impacts


6.1.       The councils require consideration of climate and ecological impacts to be at the heart of procurement decisions.

6.2.        Due consideration of the carbon footprint of service delivery, goods manufacturing and provision of works should be factored into the procurement process through statements of requirements and evaluation criteria

6.3.       Current Government policy requires local authorities to consider tackling climate change through their procurement activities. [5]








7.    Standard of conduct


7.1.The highest standards of conduct must be observed by all employees engaged in procurement activity.  In their dealings they must preserve the highest standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality, and objectivity and comply with this strategy, the procurement process and policies.

7.2.  All procurement activity undertaken by employees must be conducted in a fair, objective, reasonable and transparent manner.  This is monitored regularly by the Internal Audit Team.

7.3.  In developing the procurement strategy and procurement procedures the National Procurement Policy Statement PPN 5/21, the National Procurement Strategy for Local Government in England 2018; The Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015 have all been considered.


8.    Social Value


8.1.  The Public Services (Social ValueAct 2012 requires the councils to consider how the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area may be improved when procuring public service contracts. It allows the councils to take into consideration, in the award of contracts, any offer of additional community benefit over and above the specified requirements, where these meet the councils’ priorities. The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 is intended to have as a positive impact on:


1.    growth in the local economy by supporting local business and community groups

2.    the Improves and protection of the local environment

3.    residents’ health, safety and wellbeing in the community by maintaining and improving the services provided including supporting vulnerable residents, reducing health inequalities and improves educational attainment.


8.2.  The council’s procedures will direct service teams, where relevant, to include Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requirements in their specifications and evaluation matrix



This strategy should be read in conjunction with the following council documentation:

Procurement Policy - Action Plan

Action plan     






Next Review Date


Standard procurement documents



Best practice dictates that if standard documents are used the procurement process is the same every time and ensures continuity

A suite of procurement documents and guidance notes were produced in 2019.  These need to be reviewed and updated as necessary

April 2021

April 2022


Ethical Procurement


Ethical procurement involves Impartiality or objectivity

  • fairness and openness,
  • due diligence, competency and
  • a duty of care.

Ethical procurement statement has been included in strategy.  Will be included in staff training material

To be completed by end September 2021

September 2022

Sustainable Procurement


Procurement must achieve value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefit not only to the council but also to the local community and economy

Working with Economic Development to make local businesses aware of the contract opportunities within the council

April 2022

April 2023

Contract Register

A register of all contracts/expenditure over £5,000 that are put in place by the Council


The contract Register is now in place and is continually being monitored by Procurement

April/May 2021

March 2022

Staff Training

Training on procurement policies and the use of standard documents to ensure that all staff involved in the procurement of goods and services are able to undertake procurement activities, where applicable


Initial training completed Nov 2019.  Review of all training material and develop online learning information (LEAH)

To be completed by end September 2021

September 2022


Procurement Workplan


Prepare a high-level procurement workplan


This is currently in draft format and will be a working document

October 2021

April 2022


Reduction of Supplier Base



Decreasing the number of active suppliers through consolidation of multiple contracts

Step by step reduction in the supplier base.  Where multiple suppliers are providing the same services to the council


Exercise to commence in April 2022

April 2023



External Website





Keep procurement pages on the external website up to date and fresh

Effectively advertising the councils’ procurement activity.




End September 2021




October 2022



E-tendering Portal

E-tendering is the use of electronic tools to increase efficiency and reduce costs during the tendering process. Through the use of e-tendering, a reduction in paper and overhead costs for both suppliers and buyers can be expected

The council is part of the South East Business Portal. Build the supplier base on the portal to ensure that local suppliers, especially SMEs are aware of all opportunities.





April 2022 in conjunction with Economic Development team




April 2023


Local Government Transparency Code 2015


This code sets out the minimum requirements for local authorities to publish sets of data one of which is procurement contracts awarded with a value of >£5,000.

Prepare information using the contracts register and publish on a quarterly basis.

October 2021

October 2022



Ethical Procurement Statement


This statement sets out South Oxfordshire District Council and Vale of White Horse District Council’s approach to ethical procurement. 


It is based on the following principles[6] with advice on how to apply them when procuring goods, services, and works for the councils:


1.    working conditions are safe

2.    promotion of good health

3.    employment is freely chosen

4.    working hours are not excessive

5.    wages meet, at least, the national minimum standards

6.    training is provided

7.    diversity and good workforce practices are encouraged

8.    child labour is eliminated

9.    inhumane treatment is eliminated

10. Minimise environmental impact[7]


Legal requirements


Public procurement must be carried out in accordance with UK Public Procurement Directives.


This requires the councils to award relevant contracts, whether subject to procurement rules [8] or not, in line with EC Treaty principles, including the principles of non-discrimination, equal treatment, transparency, fairness, mutual recognition and proportionality.


These ethical principles are mostly governed by law within the UK/EU and, as such, are legal requirements which would be grounds for excluding a supplier from an award of contract if breached.


These principles, where appropriate, will be included in the councils’ standard terms and conditions to ensure that suppliers fully understand the councils’ expectations.


Working Conditions are safe

Operate appropriate health and safety policies and procedures overseen by a senior manager responsible for compliance and monitoring and ensuring employees have the necessary training and health and safety equipment.


Provide comfortable and hygienic working conditions with clean toilets and water suitable for drinking and washing.


Promotion of good health

Invest in measures for tackling ill health as healthy employees experience a better quality of life and tend to be more productive.


Employment is freely chosen

Afford employees the freedom to choose to work and not use forced, bonded or nonvoluntary prison labour.


Afford employees freedom of association with the right to join an independent trade union or other workers’ associations and to carry out reasonable representative functions in the workplace.


Facilitate alternative means of democratic representation where laws restrict freedom of association and collective bargaining.


Working hours are not excessive

Comply with national and international laws or industry standards on employee working hours, whichever affords greater protection


Wages meet, at least, the national minimum standards

Work towards paying the Living Wage and provide wages and benefits at rates that meet at least national legal standards.


Provide employees with an easy-to-read contract of employment clearly explaining wage levels.


Wages should be in cash and not in kind (e.g. goods, vouchers) with no deductions made unless permitted under national law or agreed by the employee, without duress.


Training is provided

Suppliers will be expected to show, where applicable, training programmes for staff to raise skills and aid professionalism


Diversity and good workforce practices are encouraged

No discrimination - Practice no discrimination in hiring, compensation, training, promotion, termination, or retirement either directly or indirectly, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 (or subsequent iteration of the Regulations). For the avoidance of doubt this includes compliance with Regulations in relation to blacklisting employees.


Disputes procedure - Provide clear and accessible processes for resolving disputes with employees.


Child labour is eliminated

Provide for any children found to be performing child labour to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child.


Ensure no children and young persons are employed at night or in hazardous conditions, as defined by the International Labour Organisation.




Inhumane treatment is eliminated

Suppliers must prohibit physical abuse or coercion, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation


Minimise environmental impact

Consideration of the environment and impact on climate change should be made in all procurements, ensuring minimal impacts.  Suppliers should be able to demonstrate their environmental standards.




Reference Documents


Other local authority published statements




Application of contracts procedure rules requirements



Contract Value


One Written quotation


Three Written quotations




Tenders Opened by officers

or Validator


Acceptance of tenders by officers


Acceptance of tenders by relevant Cabinet/member or Committee


Order / Contract Signed by head of service



Contract Approved and Sealed by HLD


Bond Required


Up to £10,000





















£10,001 - £75,000











If within Budget


If exceeds Budget








£75,001 – UKT[9] 












Cabinet member





Risk Assessment must be carried out















Cabinet or relevant Cabinet member or committee






Risk Assessment must be carried out


[1] National Procurement Strategy for Local Government 2018


[3] Procurement Policy Note 11/20 Reserving Below Threshold Procurements

[4] The council currently subscribes to the South East Business Portal (Proactis)



[7] List not in order of priority




[9] UKT – UK Threshold for Procurement