Wigan Council gets huge cash boost from public scheme

Wigan town hall
Wigan town hall

Wigan Council has received a six-figure windfall thanks to being part of a public sector buying scheme.

The YPO, one of the largest organisations of its kind in the country, revealed the town hall got a £367,617 dividend from being a member organisation in 2017.

The YPO gets a range of goods and services for organisations in the public sector, with Wigan Council one of the founder members.

It’s not just good news for the local authority either as the YPO spent £175,670 with suppliers in the borough and also dished out £33,067 in vouchers to Wigan schools as part of a loyalty scheme called Share of the Profits.

The cash boost for the town hall, which has had to make savage cuts in recent years, was hailed by the town and senior figures at the YPO.

Penny McGinty, assistant director for corporate contracts and assets at Wigan Council, said: “We work closely with YPO on a number of different areas including energy, facilities management, catering and fleet.

“This brings us the benefits of getting the best value for our purchasing and a significant return due to the profit share from our membership. We look forward to continuing our partnership with them to help deliver services to our residents and make savings where possible.”

YPO’s managing director Simon Hill said: “Local authorities and emergency services across the country are under increasing pressure to reduce their spending whilst simultaneously facing huge delivery challenges.

“Increased demand for social care, shortages in housing and even long bouts of unexpected weather have all provided an added strain to council spending.

“YPO helps its members reduce their costs and the surplus we return to local authorities every year helps to pay for these essential front-line council services.”

With continuing cuts to town hall revenue, every penny counts. Earlier this year the authority claimed £4.8m from its joint ownership of Manchester Airport Group.

The YPO uses centralised contracts to deliver services including energy solutions, apprenticeship training, human resources, education and food provision. Members and associate members then get the profits shared out to be ploughed back into their budgets.

As well as the 13 councils, including Wigan, a further 65 organisations including town halls, police forces and fire and rescue services are involved as associate members.

The YPO is currently looking to use technology to help town halls, recently investing in online platform for education Edtech Impact. The authorities will collectively share the budget benefit while making it easier for schools and other education organisations to buy new high-tech kit.

The organisation also hosted an event in London giving people working in the procurement sector the chance to discuss key issues the industry faces.