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Principles approved to help local businesses benefit from City Deal projects

(Adobe Stock)

Helping give regional businesses as much of an opportunity as possible to benefit from major Swansea Bay City Deal projects, a series of procurement principles have now been approved.

Signed-off by the City Deal’s Joint Committee, the procurement principles are aimed at helping ensure the £1.3 billion City Deal investment stays as local as possible by supporting local businesses and local jobs throughout Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.

The City Deal team will work with each City Deal project and their appointed contractors to promote and deliver meet-the-buyer events and other activities.

This will build on and support existing work carried out by procurement teams across the region who are already working to deliver benefits to regional businesses, residents and communities.

The City Deal team will also deliver procurement events and workshops for its project teams and project partners, while raising as much early awareness as possible of opportunities to bid for work.

Whenever it’s possible and appropriate, the principles encourage the breaking down of high-value City Deal project contracts into smaller work packages to enable smaller businesses to benefit as well.

Alan Brayley, Swansea Bay Business Club President, has welcomed the principles.

He said: “The City Deal will provide much-needed investment in the Swansea Bay City Region, which will be particularly important in terms of regional economic recovery from Covid-19.

“But what’s just as important is that regional businesses and communities benefit from the major projects forming part of the City Deal. Keeping the pound local is absolutely essential to further grow economic prosperity in South West Wales.

“This is why having a series of City Deal procurement principles in place is an important step forward. So many businesses across the region have the knowledge and skills to contribute to the construction of City Deal projects, so it’s essential they’re given every possible opportunity to benefit.”

Chris Foxall, Chair of the City Deal’s Economic Strategy Board, said: “We’re looking to create sustainable jobs, new and improved industries and attract inward investment through our City Deal projects.

“A great way to ensure impact is felt and remains in the region is through a set of procurement principles that support local businesses.

“Where we don’t have the expertise or scale of businesses needed to win competitive bids, the new principles will improve the chances of a successful tendering process for our local supply chain.”

Heather Anstey-Myers, Chief Executive of the South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce, said “ A local focus embedded in procurement  is one of the most lasting ways that the City Deal can create  a strong and lasting legacy in supporting the economy of the region.

“By enabling local firms to access contracts, it creates scale-up, skills development and collaboration in new ways. This is a really positive move from the City Deal and an opportunity I hope businesses will grab with both hands.”

Procurement progress and community benefits will soon be monitored and reported to City Deal leaders to ensure continuous impact.

The City Deal procurement principles were developed in close consultation with industry representatives, City Deal Economic Strategy Board members, legal and procurement specialists, third sector representatives and Welsh Government officials.

Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the Swansea Bay City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire County Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council, in partnership with Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.