Associate Feature: Helping local government deliver a green recovery
“The forthcoming local elections are of huge importance to Scotland’s communities. While we strive collectively towards building a fair and sustainable nation, there will always be matters that benefit from being considered at a local level.
The results of the election will also continue the evolution of Scotland Excel’s Joint Committee – our key governance group that helps to underpin public procurement for local authorities in Scotland.
The 40-strong committee not only has a governance role but, with at least one elected member from every Scottish council having a seat at the table, it also forges a strong, democratic connection between Scotland’s communities and public procurement.
As Scotland’s Centre of Procurement Expertise for the local government sector, we take our role to implement national solutions that deliver local benefits, seriously.
How do we do this? Well, let’s take Scotland’s ambitions to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045 as an example. Scotland Excel offers national frameworks which help councils on their journey to net zero. Our recently awarded energy efficiency contractors framework provides our members with a simple route to market to upgrade their housing stock, cut carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
But this framework offers other benefits at a local level. Our commitment to supporting local economies is reflected in the fact that 37 of the 46 framework suppliers are Scottish businesses. Skills development is embedded into the framework to support jobs and apprenticeships arising from new energy efficiency technologies.
Other examples of frameworks that directly support the drive towards net zero include our new build residential framework which enables the development of carbon neutral homes, and our forthcoming electric vehicle charging infrastructure framework which will increase the availability of charging points throughout Scotland.
In fact, helping councils to reach net zero is considered as part of all our frameworks. As well as encouraging suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations and logistics, we work with investment and innovation partners to identify opportunities to incorporate Scottish-manufactured carbon neutral products into our frameworks. We also support the drive to include more local produce within our food frameworks.
And it is not just environmental benefits that are built into our frameworks. Other examples of our work to support Scotland’s communities include encouraging payment of the Real Living Wage, community benefits which support apprenticeships, jobs and work experience, and creating supply chain opportunities for the third sector.
We firmly believe that a national approach to procurement can be compatible with local economic interests. We have recently completed a pilot programme with the Scottish Government to help councils develop and implement community wealth-building strategies for their areas. The programme brings together stakeholders from across the organisation to agree priorities, and uses data on local supply chains to find the optimum balance between local and national procurement.
Finally, there is another important area where a national approach can support the local delivery of essential services. Scotland Excel is the only organisation in the UK to deliver national commissioning solutions for social care services which have the flexibility to meet individual outcomes at a local level. While much is expected to change over the next five years with the introduction of National Care Service, we remain committed to working with the Scottish Government and local commissioners to share our expertise.
Scotland Excel plays a unique and valuable role in helping councils to translate national policy into local solutions. Scotland’s communities must work together to face the challenges of a post-Covid world, so we are developing a new five-year strategy which will have key national and local themes such as net zero, resilient economies and fair work at its core. We look forward to working with our new Joint Committee members and engaging them with our future goals.”
This article is sponsored by Scotland Excel.