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Community Resources Network Scotland (CRNS) is a membership body for community organisations managing waste resources at a local level through recycling, reuse, composting, waste reduction and waste education activities.
In 2016, CRNS decided to bid for a place on the Domestic Furniture and Furnishings framework dedicated to reuse furniture on Scotland Excel (the national centre for procurement expertise for local authorities, through which tendering opportunities are offered). CRNS put in a bid on behalf of those of its members who wanted to provide their services to local authorities but did not have the capacity to do so on their own.
CRNS led the tender process on behalf of a consortium of 16 members, ensuring that all the consortium members complied with the necessary legal and other requirements. This was difficult work, with lots of information to gather on each of the sixteen consortium members for Scotland Excel. As the overseer of the bid, CRNS had to check not only the desire of their members to be part of the consortium, but also their ability to deliver, which took time – and all of this had to be done within six weeks! They used a consultant to help them, the cost of which was covered by CRNS and consortium members.
The bid was accepted onto the framework in November 2016. Having undertaken such a rigorous process to get to this stage, CRNS had confidence in the ability of all members (and themselves) to deliver, and there was enthusiasm from the consortium to deliver services to local authorities.
To date, three local authorities have opted to purchase reuse furniture from the CRNS consortium. As a result, over 10,000 reuse items have been purchased by local authorities, around 470 tonnes of goods have been diverted from landfill, and nearly £1million of valuable new income has been earned by some of the consortium members. CRNS have also learnt huge amounts from the process, winning a number of industry awards for their innovation, including the Supplier Excellence Award from Scotland Excel in 2018. They are planning to retender in 2020.