The combined annual spending power of a new commission set up in Dudley borough is more than £1 billion and members have today reiterated a pledge to buy local.
Members of the newly formed Community Wealth Building Commission already include Dudley Council, Dudley College, Dudley Zoo, West Midlands Combined Authority, West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service, Groundwork West Midlands, Dudley Canal Trust, Dudley Business Group and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). More organisations will be invited to come on board over the coming months.
At a meeting the commission has committed to ensuring local businesses and communities are able to benefit from contracts put out to tender.
Dudley Council is leading the way with plans to encourage local brewers and manufacturers to tender for food and drink contracts.
The local authority is also looking to source a Black Country supplier to create a new digital information service. It will see a new website and app developed to bring the current Dudley Community Information Directory, Family Information Service and Early Help and Local Offer websites under one umbrella.
The commission has been set up along the lines of the nationally lauded “Preston Model”, which returned almost £200 million to the Lancashire city’s economy by using local companies and contractors for works and services.
A meeting of the commission this week heard the “anchor institutions” – members of the commission - in Dudley spend a combined figure of well in excess of £1 billion every year. The commission will meet regularly to discuss ways of keeping the money it spends in the local area.
Councillor Qadar Zada, leader of Dudley Council, said:
It’s great to see the Community Wealth Building Commission going from strength to strength. It will become the glue that binds together a number of major organisations in the borough. Whereas before they were all working separately and doing their own things with regards to procurement and investment, there is now some real joined-up thinking going on.
We are all committed to keeping the money we spend in the local area where possible and upcoming opportunities, such as the food and drink contract at the town hall and the digital information service, can all play a part in helping to do this.
The potential is massive. With a combined spend per year of over £1 billion, even if we only got an extra one per cent spent locally it would bring an extra £10 million into the local economy every year. That would have massive knock-on benefits in terms of local jobs, apprenticeships and other opportunities. It’s very exciting to be heading it up.”
Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said:
The potential of establishing a Dudley borough model for procurement to benefit the local community is huge and very exciting. Businesses based in Dudley and the Black Country are well positioned and very capable of delivering contracts of all shapes and sizes.
We will work hard to help ensure millions of pounds of spend can stay in the region wherever possible to provide genuine community benefit to local people and businesses alike.”
Local suppliers interested in the opportunities to provide the digital information service, or food and drinks for the town hall bar, can email email@example.com to express an interest.
Notes to editors
The “Preston Model” saw the council team up with partners including the local police, housing association, colleges and university to offer work to local contractors where possible during procurement processes.
The model has supported more than 1,600 jobs by using the city’s anchor institutions and local government contracts to keep money in the local economy.
The Community Wealth Building Commission is chaired by Councillor Shaukat Ali. Councillor Bec Gentle is the council’s cabinet member for procurement and commercialisation.