How Scotland Excel is saving councils millions of pounds
During the past decade, Scotland Excel has transformed how Scotland’s councils buy essential goods and services to make sure they get the best value when spending public money.
This has helped local authorities make savings of about £150million over that period. Procurement – the way councils buy goods and services – is a vital component that helps deliver essential public services.
These range from providing healthy school meals and delivering the best possible social care to the salt supplies that help our 32 councils maintain their roads in winter.
Scotland Excel director Julie Welsh says that its contracts, now worth more than £1billion annually, have delivered savings of around £15million a year for councils during the past 10 years.
For every £1 councils invest in Scotland Excel, they get a £5 return.
“Everyone at Scotland Excel is immensely proud of the work we have done in the past 10 years to develop innovative, collaborative and transformative ways to help councils deliver effective and sustainable public services for Scotland’s communities,” she added.
But cost savings are only part of the raft of benefits delivered through Scotland Excel’s procurement expertise.
Built into every contract are social benefits, from encouraging employers to pay the living wage to promoting apprenticeships and job creation. To date, 247 jobs and 200 apprenticeships have been created through Scotland Excel’s contracts.
Importantly for the Scottish economy, Scotland Excel encourages a range of local businesses to tender for work.
The organisation has worked hard to create opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and 70 per cent of current suppliers are Scottish and 70 per cent of those are SMEs. This ensures economic benefits are achieved across the country.
A non-profit organisation, Scotland Excel is funded by councils and its contracts cover council needs for construction, transport and environment, corporate and education, and social care.
Councillor John Shaw, from Renfrewshire Council and convener of Scotland Excel’s governance board, which includes representatives from all 32 councils, believes councils gain from working together through Scotland Excel.
He said: “Since Scotland Excel launched in 2008, its contracts have helped boost local employment and growth, and at the same time delivered wider social, economic and environmental benefits that have been good for people across Scotland.”
When the organisation started, there were no national care contracts, but there are now seven, ranging from community meals to children’s residential care.
There are also plans to develop contracts for care home services for older people, care at home, and supported living.
Now, Scotland Excel is celebrating its 10th anniversary by announcing a New Build Housing contract to deliver much-needed affordable new homes. Julie Welsh said the programme will help councils and housing associations find the best suppliers to provide construction services to build affordable housing projects across the country.
She added: “We have always strived to provide innovative, transformative procurement solutions for public services across Scotland and we look forward to continuing to do so in the years ahead.”
Ensuring you are sitting comfortably
Meeting the furnishing needs of vulnerable people in urgent need of support has been one of the most impactful procurement frameworks by Scotland Excel.
Under this contract, councils can make sure tenants have the furnishing essentials they need – quickly and efficiently.
This award-winning framework was designed so that recipients have their furnishings supplied, delivered and installed by one company.
This eliminates the stress of individuals having to co-ordinate multiple suppliers, as was the case under previous schemes.
The second generation of this £80million framework has been live since November 2016 and has already delivered extensive benefits.
Suppliers have created 28 new jobs, including three apprenticeships. And 37 school pupils and five adults have received work placements amounting to 1925 hours.
Managing director Randle Wilson said: “This framework has been a real enabler for positive change.
“It has helped my company recruit new staff, provide extensive work experience and offer employment opportunities to those most in need.
“Thanks to the framework, we are continuing to expand our community benefits programme while delivering excellent customer satisfaction across Scotland.”