It’s been announced that Sandwell Council has won the Procurement Policy category in the 2014 Federation of Small Businesses’ Staffordshire and West Midlands Local Authority ‘Small Business Friendly Awards’.

It was shortlisted – and won – thanks in part to the council being a signatory to the Prompt Payment Code. This means it has pledged to pay suppliers on time, give clear guidance on payment terms and encourage best practice among its lead suppliers (so that a healthy cashflow can trickle down through the supply chain).

It was also recognised for its development of the West Midlands Virtual Hospital (WMVH). Launching in October at ‘Meet the hospital bidders’, this is a pioneering digital procurement tool which showcases local SMEs’ products and services and helps them to embrace Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology.

The WMVH has the potential to be a pilot to transform the UK’s procurement process in buildings and infrastructure, at home and overseas. You can view the WMVH website at

Sandwell Council was represented by Paul Smith from Think Sandwell (pictured right) and Councillor Ian Jones (pictured centre), cabinet member for the jobs and economy, at the awards lunch at the Eaton Hotel in Edgbaston on Friday 26 September. They are pictured here with Ian Irwin, FSB’s Staffordshire & West Midlands Regional Chairman. The photo is courtesy of Karen Woolley, Development Manager at the FSB.