Ethical Procurement: How Sheffield would like to do business

Agency: Sheffield City Council

When Lord Blunkett says your initiative is “excellent”, you know it is really something. When that initiative is in the cash-strapped local government sector, you know it could have a huge impact on society.

Ambitious, but that is exactly what Sheffield Council wanted to be when it decided it could use its supply chain to maximise ethical behaviours and increase benefits for local people and businesses. A task force was established to develop products in partnership with third parties including a new acquisition model and team structure; tender thresholds raised to £150,000 (the UK’s highest), a sourcing team with the mandate to source locally, and a 15% mandatory minimum weighting for social value. The sheer ambition impressed judges, as did the achievements, including 80% of supply chain paid Real Living Wage, the top UK procurement score in Stonewall 2019, 50% of contracts awarded to local suppliers, £547,000 savings, and the introduction of a Pay Plus scheme improving supplier relationships.

Judges’ comments: "An ambitious programme with wide ranging benefits and comprehensive stakeholder management. It’s a truly sustainable ethical procurement programme that has also looked to improve and address a low pay culture in the local area. A punchy submission."