How we buy goods and services

To provide value for money and high quality customer service we make sure we buy products and services from the right supplier at the right price. To do that we use the set of guidelines contained in our commissioning framework. When we commission services we don't take an ideological approach but focus instead on achieving the best outcomes. That enables us to explore different different options such as insourcing, outsourcing, collaborating with the third sector, establishing independent trusts, and working with public or private sector partners. This gives us the flexibility to adapt, prioritise and deliver how we buy services based on changing demand and requirements.

You can find out more from our Procurement and commissioning strategy. It may also be useful to read the Herefordshire Council County Plan and Working Well Together: Herefordshire Compact.

Our guiding principles

  • Added valued - We aim to deliver better outcomes for the county as a whole, and to vulnerable groups in particular, so we look to work with those who can help us do that
  • Customer focus - We want to make it increasingly easy for people to contact us and to use our services, especially those with priority needs. That is why we encourage self-service
  • Local delivery - We look to work closely with county communities and third sector organisations to ensure our services are being effectively delivered at a local level
  • Self-reliance - We seek to build stronger communities by devolving services where we can to help residents, community groups, businesses and our partners become more self-reliant
  • Agility - We strive continually to become an ever more streamlined organisation, smaller, strategic and modern, focused on cutting costs and on empowering its employees

Social value in action in Herefordshire

We aim to introduce social value more and more into our procurement and planning processes. Social value is an approach on how we measure how our resources are allocated and used to benefit wider society. As well as achieving the best price, social value is a way of considering the full impact of the services we commission. With this in mind, we aim to find ways to understand how our contracts benefit communities, support the economy and minimise impact on the environment more fully.

For example, we now look at potential training and job creation opportunities when awarding highways, housing, regeneration and other construction projects in the county. To help us do this, we set up the Herefordshire Skills Academy for Construction to enable young people locally to gain the experience and trade skills that are vital for the county's future development. Our construction partners, Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) and Integral UK Ltd, have already created new jobs as a result.

Herefordshire Council has a responsibility to comply with the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 which means we need to consider how we might improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the relevant area in which our contracts will operate as part of our commissioning and commercial activity.

If you are a school, college, training provider, or local subcontractor working with BBLP or Integral UK Ltd and would like to become more involved with the skills academy, please email the coordinator, Jamie Herrits for more information.

You can find out more about Herefordshire Council's approach to social value from our Social value toolkit: a bidder's guide to tendering. Please read this guide before you answer the social value questions in your tender. The guide will provide you with information about what social value is and how it will be considered by us, how to answer a social value question, how a social value question will be scored and how we will be handling social value in our contract management processes.