Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 19.57.12Ensuring best value for money for South Tyneside taxpayers is at the heart of a new approach to working with suppliers.

South Tyneside Council spends more than £125m every year with over 3,000 suppliers which help the Council to provide a wide range of key services – from school and library materials and health and wellbeing services to highways maintenance and waste disposal.

One of the ways the Council is working to ensure best value for money is through the Supplier Incentive Programme (SIP) – an early payment scheme – which has already attracted more than 70 members in its first year.

The initiative provides mutual benefits for both the Council and businesses with companies that sell to the Council having their invoices fast tracked in advance in exchange for a small cash return or discount.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation at South Tyneside Council, said: “We spend a significant amount of money on commissioned supplies, services and works provided by external organisations. They help us to deliver essential services across the Borough but we must ensure that we get value for money for our tax payers.

“The Supplier Incentive Programme is just one of the approaches we are taking to make sure we get value from our spending. The scheme not only helps our key suppliers to keep their cash flowing, but money generated from early payments goes straight back into protecting the vital Council services that our residents value and deserve.”

The Supplier Incentive Programme, introduced in February 2015, forms part of the Council’s new Procurement Strategy 2016-21, which aims to ensure its spending on goods and services gives value for money for Borough residents through efficient and effective buying practices.

Key elements of the strategy include giving consideration to the social or environmental benefits suppliers can bring to the Borough such as apprenticeships and local employment opportunities. It also makes sure opportunities are made more accessible to local businesses with guidance available to help them quote for, and compete for work, more effectively.

Councillor Malcolm added: “Effective procurement is fundamental to achieving our vision, protecting our front line services and supporting a socially sustainable economic environment. Making sure we deliver value for money while maintaining quality is more important than ever in the current economic climate.

“I’m pleased that the Social Value Act has been included as a key element of this new strategy. Encompassing social value enables us to ensure that bidders bring a social or environmental benefit to South Tyneside where possible. This can often include apprenticeship or local employment opportunities, which supports our strategic objective of economic growth.”

For further information about ‘selling to the Council’ visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/business or call the Procurement Team on (0191) 424 7008.

Suppliers interested in joining South Tyneside’s Supplier Incentive Programme can get more details by calling (0191) 603 1855, emailing SIP@southtyneside.gov.uk or visiting www.southtyneside.gov/sip