ILLAWARRA businesses may get a boost in their bids for Wollongong City Council (WCC) tender work, with a push to look at ways locals could win more work.
And WCC this year will also look at how it could develop an ethical purchasing policy, to ensure suppliers meet the same workplace and environmental standards as council.
Early this year councillors will receive a briefing on how WCC could “recalibrate scoring systems” in the way it assesses tenders.
Labor Councillor David Brown pushed for the examination of how local businesses could better benefit from one of the largest economic entities in the region.
“Council should look at this aspect of how we do business to see if we can offer some additional support for local employers,” he told the Mercury this week.
“Many local firms tender for council contracts – it’s worth exploring if there is a way to improve their success rate or to encourage more firms to lodge a tender.”
"It's worth exploring if there is a way to improve their success rate"
Cr David Brown
At the minute just five per cent of a tender applicant’s “score” is given for “strengthening of local economic capacity”, while the cost to council is the criteria most valued, accounting for 50 per cent of the score. Other criteria include experience and capability.
Cr Brown did not say whether he thought supporting local businesses was worth paying more.
“The information councillors are seeking will look at increasing the weighting for local suppliers ... balancing the support for local firms with ensuring ratepayers get value for money will have to be assessed,” he said.
The briefing will also respond to a call from Cr Mithra Cox to include options for an “ethical purchasing policy”.
Cr Cox this week told the Mercury that this would be to ensure council suppliers and sub-contractors would need to meet the same standards as WCC on human rights, environmental sustainability and workers’ rights.
“Council is one of the largest purchasers in the region – and should set the standards for ethical behaviour,” Cr Cox said.
“Ethical purchasing may cost slightly more, but I don’t think we want to be the kind of organisation that gets a cheap deal by purchasing from companies who underpay workers or wreck our environment.”