Socially responsible procurement, increased collaboration, greater community impact,’ these are just some of the core objectives of Ardal, a new innovative procurement service launched by Cardiff Council which will deliver its collaborative procurement partnership with Monmouthshire County Council, Torfaen County Borough Council, and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The new collaboration has been formed to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving procurement landscape and to provide solutions in line with Welsh Government legislation, including the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act 2023.
Ardal will harness the skills, knowledge and expertise across all Ardal Councils, and other partners, to develop exemplar solutions of what can be achieved through collaborative, agile procurement. As Head of Procurement at Cardiff Council, Steve Robinson explains:
“We are very excited by the opportunities that Ardal brings. Through this new service we will be taking bold steps to tackle inequality, protect our environment, and adapt to a world being reshaped by climate change. Key to our work is a passion to build better communities through socially responsible procurement and partnerships with charities and community partners that delivers tangible, positive change.
“Ardal will make a key contribution to helping reduce carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2030, and ensure procurement spend is more accessible to small, local businesses and the third sector. It will also aim to improve Fair Work, Equity and Safeguarding practices adopted by suppliers and increase community benefits delivered by suppliers, that will be tracked and measured to ensure genuine social impact.
“Securing value for money, ensuring legal compliance and robust and transparent governance, as well as promoting innovative and best-practice solutions are naturally core pillars of Ardal’s approach.”
The Ardal procurement service will also continue to manage the well-established South East Wales regional collaborative frameworks, SEWSCAP (buildings construction framework), which completed a landmark £1bn worth of projects with the opening of Bridgend College’s STEAM Academy, SEWH (highways framework) and SEWTAPS (technical and professional services framework). As Steve goes on to explain:
“The establishment of Ardal will strengthen our ability to continue to manage a number of regional and national collaborative frameworks, which as well as providing arrangements which meet the needs of contracting authorities will also allow us to continue to invest in social value initiatives across the region and explore opportunities to support collaborative initiatives to respond to challenges presented by Climate Change and the commitment to be Net Zero by 2030. Ardal will continue to learn from best practice wherever it exists and share our learning across the Welsh procurement community.”