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Procurement event a resounding success

An event aimed at exploring how councils can improve their procurement practices has received positive feedback from local businesses, local government and academics.

The event, hosted jointly by the Isle of Anglesey County Council and the Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies at Bangor University's Law School, discussed how councils can use procurement to deliver better and more efficient services and provide opportunities for SMEs. It attracted over 70 people including public sector procurers, businesses, suppliers, legal professionals and students.

Speakers on the evening included Professor Gustavo Piga, Professor of Economics, Department of Business, University of Rome Tor Vergata, who discussed public procurement and the relationships between public organisations and SMEs from an European and economic viewpoint.

Cllr. Bryan Owen, Leader of Isle of Anglesey County Council and Professor Dermot Cahill, Director of the Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the event that confirmed that both organisations would work together over the next two years to review and improve procurement across the Council.

One member of the audience was local businessman Andy Basham, who is Managing Director at local electrical services contractor Owen and Palmer Ltd. He said, “I was very impressed with the event.  It was a breath of fresh air to feel that SMEs were being listened to and to see Anglesey Council taking a positive step with regards to procurement, as 50% of my staff live on the island. The speakers were excellent, and I hope we will see the council continue to offer events like this in the future.”

Speaker Professor Dermot Cahill, Director at the Institute of Competition and Procurement Studies (ICPS) added, "In this time of austerity, it is essential that councils like Anglesey take the opportunity to bring their procurement in line with European best-practices so that the dual aims of coping with less, whilst at the same time promoting economic regeneration, are satisfied.

"The presence of both Anglesey Council's political leadership and the executive leadership team at the event shows that the council recognises it needs to access the best expertise on its own doorstep in order provide a public procurement service fit for the Council and its suppliers. The Council is well aware that some of these improvements can only be made if its staff and suppliers are suitably skilled. Our partnership will develop this procurement circle in a way that benefits everyone involved."

"It is clear that across North Wales the role of councils in the regional economy is immense, and so councils need to realise that SME-friendly procurement practices serve the region’s strategic, social, and economic objectives.  We are offering the expertise at ICPS and knowledge gained from the 'Winning In Tendering' project to help Anglesey transform their suppliers' procurement experience. We look forward to developing a fruitful relationship, and a partnership that has the potential to have long-lasting outcomes."

ICPS and the "Winning In Tendering" project are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Ireland Wales Programme (INTERREG 4A).

Publication date: 29 October 2012