Public Sector Partnership Helps Residents In Gateshead During The Cost-of-living Crisis

Issue 88

Gateshead Council’s Warm Spaces, which offer local people practical support during the cost-of-living crisis, have received hundreds of free multi-purpose chargers for visitors to use, thanks to a partnership between the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) and Oxygen Finance.

The donated equipment will be shared across Gateshead Council’s network of Warm Spaces, for visitors to keep their mobile phones and other devices topped up.

Michael Walker, poverty lead at Gateshead Council, said, “We are incredibly grateful to Oxygen Finance for its donation. We have over 100 dedicated Warm Spaces across Gateshead, where local people can receive a warm welcome from our staff and volunteers. This is all part of ensuring people and families are given practical support during the cost-of-living crisis.”

Oxygen Finance’s donation was organised as part of a regional social value initiative led by NEPO.

Established in 1976 in collaboration with North East local authorities, NEPO works with UK public sector partners to deliver a programme of strategic procurement and related initiatives, that promote positive outcomes for a diverse range of stakeholders.

NEPO also works closely with public sector suppliers to boost competitive skills, signpost tendering opportunities, embed social value and improve procurement processes.

Keith Lamb, social value coordinator at NEPO, said: “Public sector procurement has a vital role to play in ensuring every pound of public spending delivers more for our communities.

“At NEPO we have embedded social value into the procurement process so that bidders set out their commitments across a range of areas, such as job creation, apprenticeships, carbon reduction and charitable donations. In 2022, NEPO’s procurement activity generated social value commitments worth £2.3 million, which shows the huge potential for public sector contracts to deliver positive outcomes for the communities we serve.”

Stuart Nichols, business engagement director at Oxygen Finance, which specialises in payments control, the procurement process and public sector market insight, said:

“Oxygen Finance has been working with NEPO since 2020, helping local authorities to deliver early payment programmes for their supply chains. As part of this we have pledged to create social value for local people including training opportunities, employment and charitable donations. Our partnership with NEPO means we can target this support where it is needed most, and we are delighted to support Gateshead Council and its partners in providing this kit for the borough’s Warm Spaces.”

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