A Critical Friend or a Flexible guide for procurement?

It’s that time of year when we look back over developments and achievements of the last 12 months, and at FRM we have seen an increase in the amount of procurement advice we’ve given to clients for local authority environmental service contracts. We’re probably not alone in this, given the surge in waste collection and treatment procurements, as some local authorities delayed their procurements during the lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021. However, what we’ve seen is interesting and encouraging – not the all-encompassing Technical Advisor roles that we live and breathe for months (although we still do those), but Critical Friend roles.

In this arrangement, we provide bespoke advice, tailored to the particular requirements of the procuring authority. This enables the Council to lead the process, to learn from its advisors and to build knowledge within their in-house team. It does require sufficient capacity and resource in-house, so it might not be appropriate for all local authorities in these stretched times.

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The advice differs from case to case, and from client to client, but our expertise has included the following:

  • Undertaking soft market testing to help tailor the procurement
  • Carbon evalutation and monitoring
  • Development of the tender evaluation model
  • Establishing Social Value requirements
  • Interim and final review of tender documents
  • Support for responding to clarification questions
  • Facilitation of negotiation meetings
  • Evaluation of submitted tenders
  • Provision of impartial oversight to the whole procurement process
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It’s an interesting moniker, Critical Friend – no one likes to be criticised, let alone while paying a consultant for the privilege..! Of course, in practice we don’t criticise, we guide, we advise, we provide template documents, we highlight potential pitfalls, we make recommendations on how to achieve the objectives of our clients. Importantly, our clients learn from the process and develop their skills in-house.

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Frith Resource Management provides technical procurement advice on waste management contracts (see Procurement Technical Advice), for a bespoke service to meet your needs email cherie@frithrm.com or call 01746 552423.

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