13% of council spending goes to small businesses in Wealden


£5 million of Wealden District Council’s spending last year was on goods and services purchased from companies based in Wealden, of which just over half of £2.7 million was with small companies.

Councillor Bob Standley, Leader of Wealden District Council said:

Bob Standley, Leader Wealden District Council
Bob Standley, Leader Wealden District Council

Small companies are the backbone of the economy both in Wealden and East Sussex.  It is good to see that they are winning an important share of the Council’s business. In many cases, their competitive edge is helping to put money back into the communities we serve.

Wealden District Council spent £20.8 million on goods and services during the 2014/15 financial year, and thanks to shared procurement initiatives Wealden DC say they have been able to save just over £500,000.

The Council’s Annual Procurement Report, published at the July Cabinet meeting, showed that:

  • £8.5 million (41%) of its annual spend on goods and services, was with small and medium enterprises, with £4.3 million going to small companies;
  • £9.2 million (44%) of the Council’s expenditure was with businesses based in East Sussex (including Wealden businesses).

The Council has established rules (issued in accordance with the 1972 Local Government Act) to promote good purchasing practice, ensure public accountability and deter corruption.  These Contract Produdure Rules clearly specify when an Officer can get a quote from a single supplier (up to £2,000) or when three written quotations need to be obtained (from £2,000 to £25,000) or when a formal tender process need to be followed by the Council (over £25,001).  The Chief Executive, or a Director, has the power, under exceptional circumstances to waive the rules.  In 2014/15 an exception had to be made in relation to a contract relating to repairs and maintenance of the Council’s housing stock.  The existing contractor went into administration and there was an urgent need to appoint a replacement contractor.  This contract was worth £1 million.

Over 40%  of Wealden District Council’s spending in the last year was on goods and services which was with small or medium sized companies, far exceeding the Government’s own target of 25%.

Wealden District Council hosts the East Sussex Procurement Hub, which uses the combined buying power of Wealden, Hastings, Rother, Eastbourne and Lewes councils to achieve savings.  Since its launch in 2010, the Hub has achieved savings and revenue in the region of £11 million for these authorities.

Other initiatives to help the local economy

As well as being a major customer to many local businesses, the Council is involved with a number of initiatives to help the local economy including the recently launched Wealden and Eastbourne Small Business Loan Scheme which has set aside £100,000 to lend to small businesses looking to expand.

The local economy has also been helped by a series of planning consents over the past year to develop employment sites.  These include the Ashdown Business Park at Maresfield; expansion at the Chaucer Business Park, Polegate; and extensions to the Hackhurst Lane Industrial Estate, Lower Dicker; and the Abbott Joinery site at Golden Cross.

Guide for local businesses wanting to supply Wealden DC

Wealden DC has produced a guide for local companies wanting to sell their products and services to them.  A copy can be downloaded from their website: www.wealden.gov.uk.



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