27 March 2024

Good progress made in first year of Aberdeenshire Council procurement development activity

Aberdeenshire Council’s Procurement Development Officer has supported more than 140 businesses across the region in their first full year in the new position.

Julie Maclean has been providing valuable insights to the diverse range of businesses in Aberdeenshire and providing crucial advice around how they might supply the council through direct or sub-contracting opportunities to bid for public sector contracts.

Since April last year Julie’s focus has been on increasing engagement and encouraging the local supply chain to explore public sector opportunities to support the local and regional economy. 

Funding from this project has been provided by the Business Gateway ‘flexible fund’ which supports projects within the region which provide a more responsive, local and flexible manner to meet the evolving needs of businesses.

Julie explains: “One of the key aspects of this procurement role has been to clearly demonstrate that there are many benefits to local supplier inclusion That might be building supply chain resilience and capacity, enhancing sustainability and reducing carbon footprint or fostering local business and jobs growth.

“The support we have been able to provide to-date includes one-to-one meetings to offer guidance on the tendering process, advice on how to find and bid for contracts, sharing information on future opportunities and how to prepare to tender for them.

“There are many opportunities to work collaboratively with the supply chain to enhance social impact objectives through the support of third sector owned businesses, promoting fair work, and addressing community needs will help to drive positive social change and create shared value for both businesses and communities.”

The project has also highlighted the benefits of working with the local authority and how it can positively impact businesses. 

It acts as a link between businesses and other support organisations, offering advice on skills development, recruitment, grants and anything else needed to help businesses grow. 

Procurement-focused business breakfasts were hosted across Aberdeenshire at the end of 2023 to promote this initiative. 

One of the key messages is that all Aberdeenshire businesses should connect with the council’s Procurement Development Officer, regardless of whether they have previously worked with the council or not. 

Julie continues: “I am particularly keen to expand these relationships with businesses and explore new opportunities. We’re also promoting the message of buying locally within Aberdeenshire Council which includes liaising with procurement teams to identify upcoming opportunities and working with the procurement team support services internally to consider local options. Through my role I can support buyers by making them aware of locally-available resources and sharing knowledge, insights and connections gained.”

Aberdeenshire Council is also keen to consider new technologies developed and offered within the region. The Procurement Development Officer is interested in hearing from businesses which offer new, innovative solutions providing economic and/or environmental savings. These offerings can be shared with appropriate parties within the services who may potentially use them can consider these innovative offerings when the next opportunity arises.

Cllr Alan Turner, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “Our focus on supporting the procurement market relies on providing strong business support to ensure our local supply chains are kept abreast of the many opportunities available to them. We’ve made good progress in our first year but we know there is much to do in the year ahead and in the future. I would urge those in the local supply chain to make contact us with us immediately so we can help you explore the varied public sector opportunities across the region.”

ISC vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “Embracing local public procurement isn't just about purchasing goods and services, it's about investing in communities, fostering innovation, and driving sustainable growth. By sourcing locally, we will not only strengthen our economies but will also build resilient partnerships, driving positive change that resonates far beyond the bottom line.”

If you have a query or would like to understand more about the planned programme, email or call Julie on 0447425127107.


Case Study: Cruden Contracts

Cruden Contracts was established in 2005 as a shopfitting contractor. In April 2007, the opportunity arose to acquire an established business comprising 8 full-time employees trading from a small workshop and office at 6 Albert Street, Fraserburgh. 

In 2009 the business transferred to new premises nearby offering a larger workshop, office and storage. Currently they employ 6 full-time and 2 part-time staff and carry out all aspects of joinery manufacturing, joinery and general building contract work to private, social and commercial customers. All trades are supplied using local sub-contractors.

The Procurement Development Officer identified that this business had engaged with the council historically and reached out to them to ascertain their interest in expanding this. 

Two areas were identified where Cruden Contracts could increase their opportunities to engage with the council. They were advised and supported to join the Dynamic Procurement System (DPS Framework) and make their profile visible on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS). 

Thanks to this engagement, the business can now be invited to tender through the “Quick Quotes” function on PCS resulting in the business successfully tendering for work directly from Aberdeenshire Council, supporting supply chain resilience and fostering local business and job growth.