Public Procurement and Property
“Waste not, want not” – Rural SME showcase with Levenseat
As part of the Sustainable Procurement Duty, we want to improve access to public contracts for SMEs, social enterprises and third-sector organisations across Scotland. Not just in cities and urban areas, but across the whole country including more remote areas and rural communities.
In a recent blog, we discussed how, over the coming months, we’ll be sharing a number of communications focussing on supplier engagement. Our latest video series highlights rural SMEs using the power of procurement to grow their business and bring benefits to their local communities.
First up, we visited Levenseat – a resource management company based in rural South Lanarkshire. Over the past 20 years, Levenseat have grown their work with the public sector from winning their first contract, to today working with over half of the local authorities in Scotland!
They are a significant local employer, committed to supporting their employees by embedding Fair Work principles within their contract delivery. They’re also committed to supporting their local community by delivering a range of community benefits including education initiatives, employment opportunities, training and third-sector support.
Levenseat recently joined the Supplier Development Programme as a Corporate Member so they can share their learnings on working with the public sector with other SMEs. In our video, Levenseat share their top tips on working with the public sector.
Watch the full case study featuring Levenseat’s Angus Hamilton, Managing Director and Pamela Knox-Welsh, Communication Manager (Transcript available at bottom of page)
Many thanks to Levenseat and the West Lothian Foodbank for contributing to this video.
- Find out more about how we are improving SME access to public contracts
- Visit the Supplier Journey for guidance and resources.
- Visit the Supplier Development Programme for free training, support and information.
For further information on public procurement in Scotland please visit www.gov.scot/procurement
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Multi-speaker Transcript. Speakers: Angus Hamilton, Pamela Knox-Welsh and Narrator.
Angus Hamilton: Levenseat is a resource management company and the focus of what we do is taking in waste materials and trying to recover as much value as we can from those materials.
Return them back into the circular economy.
It was around 2002 when we really started to engage with the public sector and also the process of public sector tendering.
Quite a steep learning curve but was also very beneficial for us as we moved into that next phase of the business.
Since then, we’re now working with over half of the local authorities in Scotland.
We’re quite a significant employer for the local community and we’ve got around about 150 direct employees.
Pamela Knox-Welsh: One of our strategic objectives is to be a great place to work.
We truly believe that if our team members feel valued, respected, and understand the role that they play in the success of the company then we’ll ultimately be a better workforce.
We’ve now been accredited with the real Living Wage foundation for 2 years which is an achievement that we’re extremely proud of.
We want to be an employer of choice, which means providing Fair Work, solid benefits, competitive pay and ultimately opportunities for growth.
Angus: Levenseat’s situated about midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
We’re surrounded by smaller towns and villages.
A great environment to be working in but it does have its challenges.
Recruitment and getting the right people into the company.
I mean, as I said previously we’re a big employer in the area but that creates its challenges, especially as we’re not on public transport direct links.
Pamela: Levenseat has a long history of community engagement.
We ultimately strive to make our communities stronger and more resilient and we do that by taking part in community engagement that aligns strongly to our business
Education, Sponsorship, Employment and Training.
We were looking for a local community project to support our partners at West Lothian Council introduced us with West Lothian Food Bank.
As well as the financial funding we also go along and volunteer which is great because you get a real sense of what they’re up against every day.
For our Education initiatives we’ve got great tools where we can educate the public on what actually happens to their waste.
We go into schools and we do workshops with them.
Where we can truly be innovative with community benefits is when we find a local authority is a little bit more flexible with what we’re allowed to offer.
An example of that is our work with Scottish Borders and we’re working in partnership with them to create an electronic resource that links to the Curriculum for Excellence, that teaches young people about the resource management world.
We are really keen to widen access to the industry.
We’re involved in a lot of employment initiatives training the future workforce.
We have recently started taking part in Career Ready which is a mentor and internship programme to help young people get a background knowledge of the industry and also giving skills for work.
More recently we have been working with the Bridges Programme in Glasgow. We work with refugees and asylum seekers to get them work experience within the UK.
We also run our own graduate and apprenticeship programme again, this is about looking at those early years of your career and setting you up with the foundations to have a more successful and fulfilling career.
Narrator: What are your top tips for working with the public sector?
Angus: Initially we worked with some consultants to get that first tender pack together and then over the years we’ve developed that, actually, a lot working with the buyers at local authorities.
I think one of the important things is to get debriefs and actually learn how we can do things better
Even if we were the successful party it’s still to sort of learn and look at how do we constantly improve.
Pamela: We were introduced to the Supplier Development Programme by Glasgow City Council.
It fit really well with our community engagement work.
We truly believe that we should be giving back and that we can do that by helping other SMEs.
Angus: Really it’s about engaging with the buyers and don’t be afraid to ask questions and if possible get meetings prior to any procurement process starting so that you’ve got the full understanding of what they’re looking for and how you tailor your services to meet that.
Narrator: Visit www.supplierjourney.scot for guidance and resources on bidding for public sector contracts.