Almost 30 local businesses have been given a tender by North Ayrshire Council in less than two years as part of an initiative to keep work in the area.

Independent councillor John Murdoch asked at Wednesday’s full council meeting to quote examples of sole traders who had won a tender for work with the authority - and how many North Ayrshire sole traders or small businesses with one or two employers were on the tendering list since September 2021.

Council leader Marie Burns said:  “In the period from September 9,  2021, to present, there were 28 micro enterprises awarded a contract under the tender and Quick Quote processes.

“This included 17 sole traders, three businesses with up to four employees and eight businesses with between five and 10 employees.

“The contracts awarded included: Early learning and childcare; school transport; graphic design services; multi-reactive trades framework; roof repair works; building refurbishment works; printing services; community services; cabling works; signage and roads winter assistance.

“Sole traders and small businesses are actively encouraged through the community wealth building (CWB) approach to bid for lower value procurements such as Quick Quotes and inclusion on frameworks for larger value contracts.

"CWB aims to build capacity within the small business base, and saw the business development team support 134 businesses during 2022 to enhance their procurement capabilities.

“The council does not operate a tendering list. Procurements are either open to all suppliers registered on Public Contracts Scotland (Tenders) or are by invitation via the quick quote process depending on the value of works or services.

“The Quick Quote process is less onerous than a tender process and should encourage local bids.”

For the financial year 2021-22, North Ayrshire Council spent £223.7 million with 3,564 suppliers.

More analysis shows £51.2m (or 22.93 per cent) of this total expenditure was spent locally with 735 North Ayrshire suppliers – which is an increase of £6m from the previous year. 

Councillor Burns added: “This spend is vital in supporting the procurement pillar of the community wealth building strategy. A further report covering the financial year 22/23 will be produced later in the year to assess any further progress.”