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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 29 June, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

Supporting People Procurement Exercise

Purpose of the Report

1.    To obtain authority to undertake a procurement exercise for the provision of housing related support services in the Vale of Glamorgan as outlined in this report.

Recommendations

1.    That Cabinet approves the establishment of an "Approved Provider List" for the provision of housing related support services funded by Supporting People Programme Grant (SPPG) through the corporate procurement process as outlined in this report.

 

2.    That Cabinet delegates authority to the Director of Visible Services & Housing, in consultation with the Leader, the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety Managing and the Head of Finance, to award contracts to the most economically advantageous suppliers resulting from the procurement process as described in this report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.    To ensure that an Approved Provider List for the provision of housing related support services funded by Supporting People Programme Grant (SPPG) is undertaken within the financial year 2015-16 so as to ensure contracts continue to be in place for all housing related support services.

 

2.    To ensure that the tendering of new housing related support services and re-tendering of existing housing related support services funded by Supporting People Programme Grant (SPPG) meet Contract Standing Orders and follow the principles of the EC Treaty and where relevant comply with the European Commission's Consolidated Directive on public procurement, originally as implemented in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Background

2.    The Supporting People Programme Grant (SPPG) is paid by the Welsh Government (WG) in the form of a grant to the Council. The grant is ring-fenced for the provision of housing related support services only. Housing related support services are provided by service providers through contracts with the Council. There are 23 contracts which expire between 2015 and 2017. Formal tenders are required for the tendering and re-tendering of housing related support services in order to comply with Local Authority Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations. The total value of the contracts within scope of this exercise is £2.85million. The current contracts range from £6,500 to £350,000 per year and include services for a number of client groups including, people experiencing domestic abuse, homelessness, mental health issues and older people. In addition to this, contracts will need to be put in place for any new or re-configured housing related support services.

 

3.    In 2010 Cabinet approved the establishment of the first Approved Provider List for the provision of housing related support services funded by Supporting People Programme Grant (SPPG) (28th April 2010 - Cabinet Minute: C859). The Approved Provider List (2010) was established through a formal tender exercise and this was reported to Cabinet in 2011 (6th July 2011 - Cabinet Minute: C1364).

 

4.    The Approved Provider List (2010) for the provision of housing related support services was in place for four years and during that time was used to tender new Supporting People services and to re-tender for existing services when contracts expired.

 

5.    The Approved Provider List (2010) has now expired and consideration is therefore required as to the most appropriate approach to secure housing related support services for the coming five years.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.    In order to comply with relevant legislation and the Council's Standing Orders and Financial Regulations, a procurement exercise is required to be undertaken. 

 

7.    Each tender exercise is required be advertised, which is estimated to cost up to £2000 per advert. The alternative to separate adverts is to run the procurement process in two stages. The first stage would involve one advert for all contracts and result in a prequalified list of providers being established at a cost of £2000 in total. This list is described in this specific case as an "Approved Providers List" (APL). Those suppliers on the APL would be prequalified to provide services to the Council on the basis of their ability to meet the service specification at an economical cost. The APL would form an agreement between the buyer (the Council) and supplier(s) (providers of housing related support services) where both parties agree the terms of future service provision, without committing at that time to a specific service or contract value. In making awards for specific contracts, further tender exercises would subsequently be undertaken and this would negate the need (and cost) of advertising whilst maintaining transparency and compliance with legislation and Council policies. For the duration of time the list is in place (likely to be five years) it has been identified that there would be process and cost efficiencies associated with this approach.

 

8.    A procurement exercise for these services requires significant service-specific knowledge in addition to an understanding and experience of procurement practices.  The previous arrangements (made in 2010) were established by staff members within the Housing Department's Strategy and Supporting People Team, supported by the Council's Procurement team.

 

9.    The procurement process involves the creation of a specification for the required contracts, management of the procurement process from Notice to evaluation and decision making (award), in addition to consultation and communication with potential suppliers. 

 

10.    Consideration has been given by the Housing and Building Services Department as to the most efficient and effective way to undertake these activities. The work could be undertaken internally or by working in partnership with another organisation to make efficient use of resources and experience. Following an analysis of the resources and skills required, it has been determined that the most efficient and effective approach at this time would be to work with in partnership with another organisation. This is based on the level of resources available within the Supporting People Team during the period that the procurement exercise is required to be completed. In working with a partner organisation, the limited resources within the team will be targeted whilst also ensuring the necessary procurement activity is undertaken.

 

11.    Discussions with neighbouring Authorities have therefore been undertaken and the City of Cardiff Council has indicated a willingness and ability to work in partnership with this Council to develop the APL. The proposed approach to developing the APL would be for this Council to formulate the specification of contracts and design the evaluation criteria. Ultimate decision making would also clearly be retained by this Authority and responsibility would remain for consultation and the final award of contracts. Inclusion on the APL would be subject to providers meeting the Council’s Supplier Acceptability and Supplier Qualification requirements. The APL would be divided into 16 client groups based on an assessment of the suppliers' capacity and capability by client group. Individual contracts would be awarded via a mini-competition tender that would evaluate tenders and take account of both price and quality. The top three service providers who have achieved the minimum qualification threshold for each client group and the incumbent service provider would be invited to bid.

 

12.    It is proposed that the procurement process (in line with the specification and evaluation criteria developed by this Council) would be undertaken by the City of Cardiff Council who would undertake to publish a Contract Notice on behalf of this Council and comply with all public sector procurement regulations. The City of Cardiff Council would evaluate support providers' (suppliers') capacity and capability to provide housing related support services against each of client groups based on the past experience and current situation.

 

13.    A project team of Officers from both organisations would be formed to manage the process.

 

14.    The award of contracts would be made by this Council and delegated authority for the Director of Visible Services and Housing (in consultation with the Leader, Managing Director and Head of Finance) is sought to enable this to be executed.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

15.    Undertaking a procurement process has cost implications associated with it in terms of advertising costs and Council Officer time. As described above, the procurement process for this exercise has been designed so as to minimise these costs where possible and ensure maximum value is derived from the grant funding received.

 

16.    The cost of commissioning the City of Cardiff Council to undertake this work is estimated at £8,000 and would be met from within the existing Supporting People budget.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.    There are no sustainability and climate change implications directly arising as a result of this report.

 

18.    The principals of sustainability and climate change will be considered as part of the procurement exercise, including employment and environmental considerations.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

19.    Conducting the procurement exercise in the way described in this report will ensure that the re-tendering of housing related support services complies with Contract Standing Orders and EU procurement regulations.

 

20.    The Vale of Glamorgan Council's Supporting People Team will work in partnership with Legal Services, Procurement and Audit to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

Crime and Disorder Implications

21.    The continuation and development of good quality housing related support services will protect and support very vulnerable clients who are likely to be more susceptible to crime and disorder difficulties if these projects were not in place.

 

22.    The provision of services to very vulnerable clients has a beneficial impact upon reducing crime and disorder in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

23.    The continuation and development of good quality housing related support services will do much to improve the quality of life of some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Corporate/Service Objectives

24.    This report is consistent with the Corporate Objective of the Council regarding
housing:

"Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality suitable housing and housing advice and support."

25.    This report is also consistent with the Council's Local Housing Strategy 2015-20 which aims to ensure that 'Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality suitable housing and housing advice and support'.

Policy Framework and Budget

26.    This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

27.    This report will affect service users throughout the Vale of Glamorgan and therefore no individual ward member consultation has been undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

28.    Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Jenny Lewington - Housing Strategy and Supporting People Manager

Officers Consulted

Alan Jenkins, Head of Finance

Pam Toms - Housing Solutions and Supporting People Team Leader

Mike Ingram - Operational Manager, Housing

Tomas Bowring - Business Improvement Manager

Legal Services

Lori Bigglestone, Accountant

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing

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