County Durham Pound project seeks to maximise local benefits from £1bn spend. Twelve primarily public sector organisations in County Durham which spend nearly £1bn between them are working together to maximise benefits to the local area from their expenditure, councillors will hear next week.
Durham County Council’s Cabinet is to receive a report setting out progress to date on the County Durham Pound project (CDP), a sector-leading initiative, and asking for approval for implementation of next steps.
The meeting will be told how the 12 organisations have identified a collective spend of almost £926m, through Social Value and Local Wealth Development in County Durham work, under the CDP banner. Councillors will also hear that those organisations are set to sign a statement of intent, committing to continuing their social value work.
Cllr Susan McDonnell, the council’s Cabinet member for digital and customer services, said: “We are delighted to be working with partner organisations in County Durham, with the ultimate goal of ensuring our collective spend benefits our residents and local businesses as much as possible. Our work in this area is sector-leading.
“Together our organisations have significant spending power and through the County Durham Pound project we are able to identify expenditure that could be retained locally – which can only present opportunities for our residents and county businesses. This is particularly important as we collectively face the challenges posed by inflation and the squeeze on the cost of living.”
A report to Cabinet recalls how the proposal approved in 2021 included 10 initiatives to be delivered by the council and partners, including the creation of a County Durham Family procurement network. The network’s aim would be to improve ‘place-based’ procurement and local spending, collaborative sourcing and social value impact.
The meeting will be told that in future consideration could be given to inviting county-based businesses and the Federation of Small Businesses to become ‘Supporters’ of the County Durham Pound, building on the involvement of Northumbrian Water as one of the 12 founder organisations.
Cabinet will be told that analysis has been carried out of the spend of the 12 organisations, with each providing details of expenditure on their 300 top suppliers. The meeting will hear that that the spend across the 12 amounts to £926m and that the work calculating it provides an opportunity to enhance the partners’ engagement with local and regional suppliers.
A report to councillors also sets out that senior managers at each of the 12 partners are to sign a joint statement of intent, committing to the social value work being carried out. A recommendation to Cabinet is that the council’s chief executive sign that statement on behalf of the authority.