Third Sector and SME Suppliers – in development

Third Sector and SME Suppliers – in development 2018-08-24T10:58:49+00:00

Commissioning and working with Third Sector and SMEs

We understand that working with local businesses is key to maximising the positive outcomes we achieve through our commercial activity, and are keen to increase a number of local suppliers that the Council and its partners work with.

The Council is committed to supporting the local SME and Third Sector in Croydon as we truly value the role played by these organisations in building a thriving local economy and creating a real sense of community.

We understand that meeting the requirements of a commissioning exercise can be demanding and, for smaller organisations with limited capacity, it can at times feel as if there are unnecessary barriers to participation.

This is why we have made a commitment to working with local voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises and small businesses to help them better understand our commissioning approach and develop the skills and resources necessary to meet the requirements of a commissioning process.

Some of the ways we aim to help our local providers to successfully compete is running targeted commissioning support sessions, engagement exercises or events that introduce large Council contractors to the local market. Those aim to help familiarise local organisations with buying processes and standards and to promote existing opportunities.

Any commissioning support sessions that are run by the Council are advertised to local businesses and third sector, and the Council runs various market engagement and briefing exercises when a specific tender opportunity arises to ensure the market understands the requirements and can provide a competitive tender response.

In some instances the Council may develop a procurement strategy that identifies the third sector as the most appropriate provider. In these instances the Council carries out market testing to see whether any profit-making companies would be interested in bidding.

If the market testing shows that the main provider market is the third sector then the Council follows a more streamlined version of the procurement process. This process has been designed to be less demanding on bidders and to more readily allow innovation.

Community Fund – working with the third sector

In 2016 The Council’s redesigned its main funding programme to ensure it supports the capacity building and sustainability of the third sector in Croydon. The Community Fund is a voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) commissioning programme that delivers on the outcomes set out in the Council’s corporate plan and also on the key recommendations of the Opportunity and Fairness Commission.

In order to stimulate the market and increase the range of bids, particularly from the local VCSE community the Council provided commissioning and procurement support with training and guidance offered at all stages of the commissioning process. Some of the support offered through various engagement sessions included: registering on the London Tenders portal, bid writing, outcomes and outputs and costing your bid.

Over 100 organisations attended the sessions, and 37 contracts were awarded to a rich and diverse provision across the borough.

Social Enterprise UK (SE UK)

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment.  They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community, so when they profit, society profits.

Social enterprises are in our communities and on our high streets – from coffee shops and cinemas, to pubs and leisure centres, banks and bus companies.

SE UK are the national body for social enterprise. They represent their members and help to grow the social enterprise movement throughout the UK.

To read more follow the link social enterprises

SE Network

The formation of the SE network group forms the first stage of developing an action plan to support the SE sector in Croydon following the SE Place status awarded by SEUK to Croydon. The SE Network holds a monthly meeting where local Social Enterprises can network, raise issues, ask for/share business advice, events are publicised, training events are held and key speakers are invited.

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