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St Helens Council triumphs at national government awards for procurement

Article date - 30 March 2017

St Helens Council has achieved a national award for its innovative work as part of the purchasing exercise, or tender, for the local drug and alcohol treatment service.
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Unusually, the tender, which involved various organisations bidding to provide the ‘St Helens Integrated Recovery Service’, was carried out in collaboration with current users of the service.

As part of the process – undertaken by the council’s Corporate Procurement and Public Health teams – service users were trained to be part of an independent evaluation panel, supported by procurement professionals. They used their experience to help decide which organisation offers the best service for St Helens.

This secured the council the Best Customer Engagement award UK National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2017/18, at a prestigious ceremony at the Manchester Deansgate Hilton, hosted by TV presenter Sarah Heaney.

St Helens Council beat off stiff competition from dozens of entries, including some from prominent national organisations, like NHS England and the National Procurement Service, and other councils across the country, including City of Edinburgh and Nottingham.

To be shortlisted, the council had to demonstrate how they engaged with customers, or in this case service users; what benefits this brought to all involved; and the outcomes it achieved.

Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing (pictured with the award) said: “This is a fantastic achievement, and it’s great to get recognition for such a ground breaking project. We wanted to make sure that the service being offered was what people wanted, so who better to help make that decision than the people actually using the service. I’d like to thank everyone involved and say congratulations to all.”

Cath Fogarty, the council’s Head of Finance said: “We wanted to put local people at the heart of our decision making, to give them an equal say alongside the professionals involved, and an equal opportunity to help solve the challenges we face in St Helens. The project has been a great success and will hopefully pave the way for future tenders.”

The St Helens Integrated Recovery Service is now being provided by Change, Grow, Live (CGL), and can offer free, confidential and non-judgemental advice and support for those aged 19 and over who are worried about their drinking or drug taking. If you have any worries or concerns, contact CGL on 01744 410752.