Procurement Advice and Guidance


Stroud District Council


Stroud District Council


Stroud District Council (Stroud) provides services to approximately 113,000 residents and is the only council within Gloucestershire to have retained its housing stock. Stroud’s Corporate Delivery Plan (2014-2018) identifies key actions in 2014/15 to:

  • Deliver budget savings and continue to identify savings to meet medium term financial challenge
  • Use systems thinking to redesign more efficient services
  • Use Supply South West procurement portal for all aspects of the Council’s business

This is underpinned with a key requirement to promote opportunities for local businesses to boost the local economy.


Stroud has an annual procurement spend of £33M with over 1100 suppliers, generating some 15,000 invoices. 26% of spend is with local suppliers with the top five having a collective spend of £1.2M. The prime responsibility for procurement activities is devolved to the service areas and managed by the Strategic Heads of Service but performance was inconsistent.  Specific concern had been raised regarding governance of procurement procedures and contract management and this had been identified within Stroud’s Annual Governance Statement.

Our challenge was to review and assess:

  • Procurement policies and procedures
  • Skills gap analysis for staff dealing with procurement

and to:

  • Assess current activity against Stroud’s priorities
  • Advise on best procurement and contract management practice
  • Recommend an action plan

“The review was undertaken swiftly and professionally but with a personal touch that was much appreciated”

 Sandra Cowley, Strategic Head of Finance and Business, Stroud District Council

The Solution

We undertook a rapid review of Stroud’s current practice, capacity and capability and assessed this against best practice and delivery plan key targets. This was followed by a detailed risk & issues and SWOT analyses of a centralised versus devolved procurement approach together with identifying a training plan to address current gaps.

The findings were fed back via a Corporate Management Team briefing and a stakeholder workshop.

Given the size of the Council and volume of procurement, we recommended that Stroud should:

  • Take the emphasis away from process and focus on how effective procurement can produce real benefits
  • Develop a new Procurement Strategy embracing
    • Local supplier engagement
    • Contract and supplier management
    • Performance targets, including savings and local spend

“The review demonstrated that the Council had seriously underestimated the value of strong leadership in procurement. It provided a ‘no holes barred’ assessment of our current position and set out a clear and realistic set of recommendations that, if implemented, will deliver significant improvements to our governance of procurement.”

 Sandra Cowley, Strategic Head of Finance and Business, Stroud District Council
  • Revise the Contract and Procurement Procedure Rules to ensure they reflect the agreed processes
  • Develop a Forward Plan of procurement activity
    • Incorporate procurement planning into service delivery
  • Design relevant management reports based on agreed performance metrics
  • Develop an effective internal and external web based information and guidance facility
  • Establish a Procurement Board to:
    • Manage delivery of the Forward Plan
    • Provide strategic leadership on all Council spend with third party suppliers
    • Ensure that appropriate strategies are in place to achieve the Council’s procurement objectives

The Benefits

In adopting our recommendations Stroud will be able to demonstrate:

  • Leadership of the Council’s procurement activities, ensuring alignment with priorities
  • Effective strategic control and management of the Forward Procurement Plan and savings initiatives
  • Commitment from service areas to meet procurement obligations
  • Robust procurement targets including savings
  • Compliance against regulatory and Council requirements

Looking Ahead

Our feedback was well received and our recommendations are currently being implemented. We have been asked to continue providing assistance on Stroud’s journey.


For an in-depth discussion please contact:

Richard Ward, Lead Consultant for this project – 07811 100188,



Aidan Salter, Managing Director – 07801 039600,



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