City staff will look into how to add value and impact to purchasing decisions

City council is considering making a change to how the City of Campbell River makes its purchasing decisions.

Council has asked city staff to investigate the options for implementing a social public procurement policy to guide council when it comes to spending tax dollars.

Such a policy would ensure that the city’s economic, environmental, workforce and social development goals are taken into account when determining the best value for public funds.

The initiative was brought forward to council by Coun. Colleen Evans who attended a special session on social procurement and economic development during the Union of BC Municipalities convention in September.

Evans said it’s essential that the city achieve the maximum value for each dollar it spends.

“Social public procurement is intended to complement our existing procurement policies and processes by leveraging our purchasing to also achieve added impact and value,” Evans said.

“It seeks to further leverage tax dollars by aligning our procurement practices with our city’s strategic priorities to advance positive economic, environmental, workforce and social development outcomes.”

Evans said the goal of social procurement – the purchasing of goods and services – is to ensure that purchasing decisions include “a commitment to purchasing the best services and products at the most competitive prices and a commitment to leverage limited public resources to achieve strategic city-building outcomes.”

Evans said that is achieved by first creating awareness among city council and city staff of how purchasing practises can positively impact the city’s economic, environmental and social health.

To that end, council, at its Dec. 14 meeting, asked staff to come back with a report identifying how council can develop a social procurement process to add value to and complement the city’s existing bidding process.

Evans said the report will also identify steps and recommendations to allow council to be more strategic and proactive in its procurement and, provide recommendations on how to leverage procurement to “build a stronger economy, increase diversity among suppliers and improve access for micro, small business and social enterprises to achieve broader goals.”