Responsible Procurement Strategy

STAR is the shared procurement service between Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, and Trafford Councils, Tameside & Glossop CCG, and Trafford CCG (our Partners). We also have relationships with a number of other customers for the provision of procurement and other services. This Responsible Procurement Strategy outlines how we will conduct procurement on behalf of all of our partners and customers.

What is Responsible Procurement

Responsible Procurement is the act of sourcing services, supplies, and/or works in a way that takes into account ethical and sustainable considerations, including: economic, social, labour, and environmental factors, whilst always aiming to procure and act in a way that is morally right, open, fair, and transparent.

Responsible Public Procurement:

    • Is about improving the quality and cost effectiveness of delivering public services to citizens
    • Is a mechanism to challenge current service arrangements and find new models for service delivery
    • Will achieve better realised savings that can be channelled back into priority services
    • Can achieve added Social Value as well as wider added value benefits to citizens through effective use of supply chains
    • Ensures that our partners deliver best value
    • Using our professionalism and planning, can help prevent financial loss to the Council and support our services and reputation

Why Responsible Procurement is important

Local government has a total revenue budget of c.£44billion per annum, STAR recognises that procurement decisions can have a major socio-economic and environmental implication, both locally and globally, now and for future generations. The associated procurement activity is critical to ensuring that not only is best value being obtained, but that public money is spent in a way that protects both people and the environment and is vital to:

    • Furthering Sustainable development
    • Stimulating innovation
    • Avoiding unnecessary costs

We recognise our responsibility to take a robust approach to ethical and sustainability issues, especially around modern slavery and human trafficking, which we are absolutely committed to preventing, within our partner’s supply chains.

Strategic Influence on Public Procurement

There is a complex and multi-layered influence on our procurement activity through global, national, regional, and local policies and legislation. Our Procurement Strategy is designed to provide clarity as to how we will embed this strategic context into what we do. Whilst not exhaustive, the table below gives an indication of the strategic context in which we operate.

National Regional Local 
  • Public Contract Regulations (2015) • Concession Contracts Regulations (2016)
  • Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 • National Procurement Strategy  (NPS) for Local Government in England
  • Care Act (2014)
  • CCS Procurement Policy Notes
  • Local Government Transparency Code 2015
  •  GMCA Social Value Policy
  • "Stronger Together": The Greater Manchester Strategy
  • Devolution Deals
  • Contract Procedure Rules
  • STAR Business Plan
  • STAR Councils' Priorities
  • STAR Procurement Handbook
  • STAR Councils' Social Value Priorities
  • Category Strategies
  • STAR Quality Management System 

Our Strategy: 2019 - 2024

This strategy aims to advance these achievements and looks to STAR Procurement to provide leadership by:

    • Engaging regionally and nationally to understand areas of good practice
    • Providing a single voice for the STAR partners on procurement and supplier management issues
    • Engaging with our partners’ strategic suppliers
    • Facilitating and supporting further collaborative and partnership working between our partners and the wider public sector
    • Advancing our activities around ethical and sustainable behaviours, especially around Modern Slavery and the protection of the environment
    • Re-affirming our commitment to considering the social, economic, and environmental consequences of what is procured at all stages of the life-cycle

STAR Procurement will continue to promote the three key priorities set out in the National Procurement Strategy for Local Government in England (NPS) 2018:

    • Showing Leadership
    • Behaving Commercially
    • Achieving Community Benefit

The STAR Procurement Business Plan identifies five objectives which will underpin all of our activity over the coming three years. This strategy should be read in conjunction with our Business Plan, which collectively demonstrate how we will deliver these objectives through procurement activity, and deliver against the three priorities of NPS 2018.

Our 2019 - 2022 strategy has been extended to 2024 with minimal changes due to the Procurement Bill currently going through the parliamentary process. It is intended to consider necessary updates in late 2023 / early 2024 upon adoption of new procurement legislation and associated governmental policies.


Objective 1: Deliver Commerciality

By adopting a wide range of approaches, as necessary, we will continue to:

    • Ensure we work to maximise the outcomes for, and value for money spent / received by, our partners
    • Deliver savings
    • Retain a category management approach
    • Analyse and identify spend
    • Conduct early market engagements
    • Undertake Risk Based Sourcing
    • Increase our partner’s spend with local companies
    • Work collaboratively across all of our partners and across Greater Manchester
    • Ensure suppliers improve on their delivery of social value commitments
    • Create commercial opportunities (including income generation)

We will also further progress driving efficiencies from our partners’ current contractual bases by promotion of a planned approach to:

    • Managing risk
    • Compliance
    • Contract reviews
    • Commercial management
    • Supplier Relationship Management

Objective 2: Supporting Communities

There are a number of activities that we will continue to perform to give local suppliers and SMEs the best possible opportunity to supply and provide services to our partners. These activities will also ensure our partner’s local community’s benefit from their respective Councils spend.

We will help ensure that our partners enter into contracts with businesses that will add value and deliver benefits to local and global communities beyond the predominant purpose of the contract.

We will continue to:

    • Embrace Social Value in all procurement activity (where relevant and proportionate)
    • Make Social Value a Key Performance Indicator in contracts
    • Ensure both financial and non-financial outcomes are promised by bidders
    • Embrace e-procurement
    • Engage face to face with our stakeholders through events, drop in sessions, meet the buyer sessions, and training
    • Where appropriate and available, procure requirements in line with current best practice standards and technical and quality specifications, including Government Buying Standards
    • Require compliance with labour and sustainability requirements

We will advance and further improve:

    • Our identification of spend
    • The amount spent by our partners with local businesses and Small to Medium Enterprises (SME)
    • How contract management of Social Value outcomes is undertaken to ensure delivery
    • How suppliers to our partner’s demonstrate their commitment to improving ethical and sustainability practices locally and globally, and uphold the core expectations set out in Annex 1 to this strategy, and how they will address the additional expectations, where relevant and proportionate, as set out in this annex.
    • Our proactive work to ensure that all supplies, works and services procured for our partners are sourced ethically and sustainably, throughout the supply chain, for e.g. through procurement activity, contract management, risk assessments, action plans, investigations, and audits

Objective 3: Build Collaboration

As a collaborative procurement service we have the skills and expertise to continue to help drive this agenda and secure measurable outcomes. 

We already collaborate across our four partners as well as across other Local Authorities and health organisations across Greater Manchester, and value the fact that we are stronger together. We will advance on our activities to undertake:

    • More effective collaboration across Greater Manchester and the North West by engaging with our partner’s “anchor institutions”
    • Better delivery of a wider range of outcomes across Greater Manchester and the North West
    • Better assurance that collaboration still supports our communities through the effective use of lotting strategies and through active engagement with our clients and suppliers.

We will continue with:

    • Supplier relationship management
    • Engaging with suppliers and markets to further drive innovation and collaborative work across the region.

Objective 4: Provide Confidence

Procurement is rarely “black and white”, therefore we adopt a risk-based approach to ensure that we do not let the rules that focus on values stifle innovation and creativity.

We will maximise the opportunities for innovation by:

    • Ensuring we provide an appropriate amount of structure
    • Allowing for flexibility and agility of approach based around risk first
    • Ensuring simplicity and speed to market
    • Providing training to staff, our partners, and suppliers on various aspects of the procurement cycle, social value, ethics, and sustainability to ensure we work collaboratively to tackle compliance
    • Ensuring our partner’s suppliers comply with specifications, standards required of them, and compliance with core expectations set out in Annex 1 to this strategy, and how they will address the additional expectations, where relevant and proportionate, as set out in this annex
    • Continuously updating our anti-fraud and corruption processes which are based on Government review
    • Collaborating with our Partners and wider groups to protect against fraud and corruption
    • Conducting robust data analysis so we can manage, plan, monitor, and report on our and our partner’s suppliers activity
    • Use data to inform our strategic procurement and collaborative approach

Objective 5: Be Courageous

We champion procurement and collaboration to support public service reform and transformation. We will continue to:

    • Use our skills and expertise to develop our added value
    • Lead by examples and ensure that we promote the very best world-class strategic procurement to share and support wider partners
    • Share our successes with others
    • Ensure that we champion Social Value, sustainable and ethical behaviours in all that we do
    • Ensure that our partners (councillors and senior staff) are engaged and champion STAR, procurement and collaboration, and STAR activities and achievements
    • Have the confidence and courage to continue to diversify and innovate


Annex 1: Core Supplier Expectations

Core Expectations

STAR Procurement expects all suppliers (and their sub-contractors) to our partners to:

    • Not engage in criminal conduct or activity
    • Comply with labour and environmental laws
    • Adopt and conduct their trading activities in accordance with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code, which is based on the International Labour Organisations (ILO) internationally recognised Code of Labour Standards
    • Confirm commitments as set out in the Co-operative Party Charter Against Modern Slavery
    • Ensure workers are aware they may join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one
    • Confirm their commitments to and adopt and conduct their business and trading activities as set out in the Unite Construction Charter (where operating in the construction sector)
    • Comply with labour and other appropriate laws (e.g. The Equality Act 2010)
    • Uphold the principles of the All Equals Charter
    • Not engage in human rights abuses
    • Not engage in environmental abuses
    • Provide fair payment for supplies, works and services through the supply chain
    • Provide workers with fair wages
    • Not to blacklist workers
    • Not use tyres over 10 years old in accordance with the Tyred Campaign
    • Act Ethically and sustainably in how they manage and operate their business, including the provision of services, manufacture and/or delivery of supplies, or provision of works
    • Not to have links to companies, individuals or bodies that are directly or indirectly involved in the crimes against humanity taking place in China with regards to Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslim populations

Additional Expectations

STAR Procurement expects, where relevant and proportionate, all suppliers (and their sub-contractors) to:

We also expect where relevant and proportionate, all suppliers (and their sub-contractors) to work with us and our partners to:

  • Contribute to the GM ambition of being a low carbon area by helping to create a more sustainable GM, UK, and globe by creating a lower carbon supply chain
  • Contribute to the GM ambition to dramatically reduce avoidable single use plastics in the region
  • Contribute to the GM ambition of more local jobs and apprenticeships in the region
  • Adhere to the Fair Tax Mark standards – ensure that your organisation pays the right amount of tax which funds vital public services and goods

Annex 2: Useful Links

General Links

Labour Standards

Technical Standards

Consumer Facing Standards

GM Sustainability & Ethical Priorities

Version: 1.7: 6 April 2023

Version Control Table

Version Control Table
 VersionChangesDate Updated
1 Original 25 February 2019
2 Included Unite Construction Charter in Core Expectations
Included Tyred Campaing in Core Expectations
3 October 2019
3 Placed RPS on website in accessible format
Included information on anti-fraud commitments in Compliance
Included information on LGBT labour rights in Core Expectations
30 October 2020
4 Updated the 5 Objectives to match the STAR 2021-2024 Business Plan 28 January 2021
5 Included Fair Tax Mark in Additional Expectations 11 February 2021
6 Included links to China with regards to Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslim populations in Core Expectations 17 August 2021
7 Extended Strategy into 2023 6 April 2023