States looks to buy more local goods, services

MORE local companies will get the chance to be contracted to work for the States under plans being prepared by Economic Development.

Economic Development vice-president Deputy Steve Falla. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29100753)
Economic Development vice-president Deputy Steve Falla. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29100753)

The States spends about £200m a year on suppliers and other providers of goods, works and services, of which about 57% is spent locally.

The committee said its goal was to redirect some of the millions that go to off-island companies towards Bailiwick firms.

It will be looking to improve local companies’ access to opportunities, equip local suppliers to respond better to tenders and ‘proactively identify and develop categories of spend that can be sourced locally’.

Among the ideas is to make the online tendering portal more user-friendly and give clearer guidance about what is expected from applicants for contracts.

‘It is thought that small changes in process, proactive engagement with industry and some targeted sector development could help redirect millions of pounds’ worth of business to Guernsey’s private sector,’ said a committee spokesman.

It is also looking at ways of giving local firms support in improving their applications when tendering.

Economic Development vice president Steve Falla said the idea could be a good way of supporting the economic recovery post-Covid-19. ‘There seems to be a genuine opportunity here for us to give more work to local businesses and, in doing so, support our local economy,’ he said.

More work had to be done on what changes needed to be made, but he was eager to see these take effect this year.

‘This could be a real quick-win as we look for ways to support our economic recovery following the major impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.’

Currently local firms’ bids receive a 20% weighting when tendering for contracts and Deputy Falla said this will continue.

Any changes would not mean accepting all bids from local firms as a matter of course: ‘It’s not our intention to increase the spend on procurement services.’

Economic Development said there would always be a need for non-local expertise.

‘We’re never going to get 100% of what we need from on-island because there are some areas where the skills don’t exist,’ said Deputy Falla.

‘I would like to see that in a year’s time we have increased local procurement by 10%.’

The committee wants to hear from local firms that work in areas where they believe the States could buy locally, but stress that this should not be business which is transacted locally and sub-contracted, or from those working in areas which could be localised through ‘targeted sector development’ such as the recruitment of key skills.

n Businesses are encouraged to email their suggestions and any other contributions to procurement@gov.gg.

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