2 May 2022

Procurement and economic development work together for mutual success

Review of procurement and commissioning services brings positive changes

The challenge 

Scotland Excel’s consultancy work can bring benefits to councils and associated members by providing an overall review of procurement and commissioning services which ensures that everything is streamlined and being done efficiently.

Maximising the capture of community benefits was an important element of Scotland Excel’s recent procurement review, commissioned by East Renfrewshire Council. 

How Scotland Excel helped

The work began with a review by our commercial lead, which identified that community benefits were being requested in contract documentation - but there was no monitoring system in place to ensure these were being implemented.  A process for tracking both low value and high value community benefits was needed.

An approach mas made to the council’s economic development team.  This team also has an interest in community benefits, in their case through large infrastructure projects such as City Deal, and their remit includes encouraging local supplier development to support economic activity.

Working in partnership, the teams developed a new central register, with the procurement team managing lower value community benefits, and the economic development team managing benefits from larger strategic contracts.  The process is supported by a group which meets quarterly to ensure accountability and identify ongoing improvements.

The outcome

This new approach to community benefits ensures priorities are better aligned to strategic and Scottish Government priorities such as the Local Outcome Improvement Plans, Child Poverty Action Plan and Regional Skills Investment Plan. 

New entrant jobs, work experience placements and a range of employability activities including developing the young workforce have all been supported by community benefits. 

A community wish list has been developed to ensure community benefits meet local priorities. The council can now direct suppliers to what communities would like to achieve and, in turn, suppliers receive publicity through social media for providing community benefits.


Vanessa Fordyce, Category Manager at East Renfrewshire Council said: “I manage community benefits in procurement and worked on the project with Scotland Excel as part of my Personal Development Award in Project Management.

“A priority for us was to maximise the social value from our contracts and both procurement colleagues and our colleagues in economic development are delighted that the new process is providing great outcomes for local communities and celebrates the contribution of our suppliers.”

Lorna Wallace from the council’s economic development team said: “Being able to capture community benefits from our large strategic projects has significant benefits for local people, creates employment opportunities and stimulates the local economy.

“Through the provision of a robust framework and process around this, we are able to continuously improve and work together with procurement and our stakeholders to maximise the benefits”.