The amount of local supplies and services procured by East Ayrshire Council (EAC) increased significantly over the last year.

A report to EAC's cabinet revealed that the amount spent with Ayrshire suppliers had risen by £3.6million, from £54.5m to £58.1m in 2022/23 – a 6.65 per cent increase.

It meant that 32 per cent of its total procurement was spent locally.

EAC broke down the figures further, with £36m of that £58m being spent within East Ayrshire.

A spokesperson for East Ayrshire Council said that the other Ayrshire authorities only record a local figure that includes all three authorities.

In comparison to the £58m spent locally by EAC, South Ayrshire Council spent £70.26m of £257.5m (27.29 per cent) locally, while the North Ayrshire Council figure was £57.63m out of £220m (26 per cent).

Cumnock Chronicle: East Ayrshire Council's head office in KilmarnockEast Ayrshire Council's head office in Kilmarnock (Image: Google Street View)

North Ayrshire also had the highest number of suppliers (925) compared to South Ayrshire (645) and East Ayrshire (406).

The report set out the aims of East Ayrshire Council’s corporate procurement strategy for the coming year.

These include “promoting the use of fairly and ethically traded goods, improving the health, wellbeing and education of communities and promotion of animal welfare”.

It continued: “At the heart of the council’s procurement strategy is our shared ambition to tackle inequality and enhance the wellbeing of our communities and by delivering our procurement strategy through a community wealth building lens will make the economy work to benefit our communities by making sure Ayrshire does more to spend locally, employ locally and make land and buildings work better for our communities.

“We will put procurement at the heart of a sustainable economy to maximise value for our communities by delivering commercially effective and compliant procurement services.”

“Our aim is to build the council’s reputation as leaders in procurement, securing innovation, sustainability, value for money and quality of services from our supply chain.

Cumnock Chronicle: EAC's chief governance officer, David MitchellEAC's chief governance officer, David Mitchell (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

“In order to align the strategy to our community wealth building aspirations, our previous strategy spend data was revised to provide details of the council’s ‘influencable procurement spend’.

“This was welcomed by members and provided visibility of the council’s spend with local suppliers – local spend being categorised as suppliers with a registered postcode across East, North and South Ayrshire geographical localities.”

“The current strategy for 2024 – 2025 has again been updated to reflect our local spend which has seen an increase of 6.65 percent, there has also been an increased use of localised suppliers, contractors and service providers from the previous reporting period of 13.7 per cent.”

EAC’s chief governance officer, David Mitchell emphasised that the aim of the strategy is to “build on each round of contracts”.

He added that it is possible to “obtain value for money while maximizing the benefits, not just to the council, of best spend but also to the local economy by seeking to engage and include local businesses local suppliers wherever it’s feasible.”