Cornwall Council has appointed Bloom to work with us for the purchasing of consultancy services.
This means that the Council has an effective and efficient way of appointing suppliers.
What consultancy covers
Consultancy services provide specialist skills that the Council needs from time to time.
They are usually for a short period of time or for project based activity for example; Legal or IT services. Some of these specialist services may involve the staff of the supplier holding a license or accreditation
We usually need these skills to meet quality or legal standards and for discrete, time limited pieces of work where the skills or capacity doesn’t exist in-house. Or where it would be more expensive to have staff with these skills permanently on our books.
In common with all Local Authorities, we only spend a small fraction of our total third party procurement on these services
How does Bloom work?
Suppliers need to register with Bloom. This lets you to take part in competitions for Council professional services contracts.
Register using the Pro-vide systemIn some cases we will make you aware of market engagement events before we ask Bloom to issue invites to tender. You should also still look for Council tendering opportunities on the Contracts Finder website.
When a successful supplier has appointed, the supplier submits a highlight report to Bloom and the Council via Bloom’s Pro-vide system.
This report details the work for which suppliers are claiming payment. The report must be approved by the Council before the supplier invoices Bloom. They then charge the Council.
A diagram showing the payments process helps explain this process.
Bloom charge suppliers 5% of any work awarded via their system. Suppliers find that their costs of doing business with the Council are lower for each contract won.
The Council and the supplier should both make savings.
Suppliers of consultancy services should maintain their direct communications with the Council. We are always interested to hear from suppliers as part of our supplier relationship management programme.
To register suppliers should go to: Pro-Vide
Why work with Bloom?
Bloom acts on behalf of over 130 local authorities and other public sector bodies. It has a track record of delivering a managed buying service with benefits to both parties.
Our use of Bloom is compliant with the UK Public Contract Regulations 2015. This is through our Associate membership of NEPO, who are a Central Purchasing Body as defined in those regulations.
In some circumstances we may not use bloom:
- Other arrangements for buying services are already in place. For example construction
- Where funding or other requirements dictate
Some opportunities will be tendered through our standard e-tendering arrangements. This is called Due North.
Whether the route is Due North or Bloom, where the value of the requirements exceed £25,000 the Council will endeavour to post a notice about its requirements on the Government’s Contract Finder website.
What are the benefits of using Bloom?
There are a variety of benefits to using Bloom for both the Council and for suppliers of professional services. These include reduced transaction costs yet still allowing us to do business with small, local suppliers.
For the Council:
- It maintains or reduces the transaction costs of working with a very large base of suppliers
- Bloom still allows us to do business with small, local suppliers
- It reduces costs of administering our own frameworks where existing compliant routes to market exist
- It allows access to a wide range of suppliers across a range of specialist areas.
- It ensures access for local SMEs to consultancy opportunities with the council
- It enables continued sign up of organisations on a rolling basis
- It enables access to a wider suite of opportunities with the other 130 Councils and public sector bodies who use Bloom to source their consultancy and or professional services. 13 of these are in the South West region
- It reduces the administrative burden of submitting tenders and bids through a streamlined e-tendering system.
- It offers a simplified procurement process.
Where can I go for information and support on Bloom?
You can look at some answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Bloom website to help you get started.
If you have a query about Bloom, or you would like more information about buying professional services or consultancy, contact us on Bloom@cornwall.gov.uk