Provider Engagement Network
Provider Engagement Network

Doing Business With Devon

How to do business with the Council

In order to carry out its day to day business the Council procures goods, services and works from many different external sources and we must do so in a way that secures the best possible Value for Money for the taxpayers of Devon.

Procurement is an important driving force in Devon County Council for identifying and realising cost efficiencies and guiding the improvement of Value for Money in the Council’s £460m annual procurement spend. Included within this spend is the procurement of services, construction works and supplies provided by the Council which have a significant impact on the quality of life for the community. It is vital that these services are delivered to a high standard.

Social care commissioners and the procurement team work closely to design procurements that are sensitive to local market conditions and take account of the views of providers.

Procurement also works closely with local business support organisations and public sector business support units to ensure improved access to business opportunities with the Council and to assist Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and Third Sector organisations to understand the tender process and produce quality responses to invitations to tender.

Devon County Council looks to develop good business relationships with all of its key providers in order to deliver good Quality of Services, which provide Value for Money for our community.

Devon County Council is part of the Supplying the Southwest network and all tender opportunities can be viewed via this portal:

For more information on ‘How to do business with the Council’ follow the link below:

How you will do business:

Legislation requires local authorities to give due regard to best value and social value.  This quote sums up the spirit of this intention:

‘under the Duty of Best Value… authorities should consider overall value, including economic, environmental and social value, when reviewing service provision.  As a concept, social value is about seeking to maximise the additional benefit that can be created by procuring or commissioning goods and services, above and beyond the benefit of merely the goods and services themselves.’

Consequently, when spending money on care services, Devon County Council is interested in the resulting purchase of goods and services in Devon, helping to safeguard and generate sustainable employment, reflecting the special needs of disadvantaged groups and minimising any adverse effects on the environment.  Links between well being and the economy include not only jobs but also income levels and income distribution, work-life balance, health factors, housing and transport.  As a result the Council has measures to take these issues into account when awarding contracts and those providers with a track record of delivering on ‘social capital’ are likely to score well.

Business Support for Providers

PEN: The aim of the Provider Engagement Network (PEN) is to provide a forum for dialogue between Devon County Council and providers.  It’s role is to encourage peer to peer support and foster collaborative approaches and consortia working.

Business Advice

In addition to the many firms of accountants and solicitors, there are many partly publicly funded business support services available.  These services can be categorised according to geographic location, type of business eligible and type of support offered.  Some of the main channels to the relevant services in Devon are summarised here:

GAIN (the Growth Acceleration and Investment Network):

This Southwest wide  portal provides links to specific services such as those provided by the Rural Growth Network, North Devon + Exeter Business Support, the Business Information Point (BIP) in west and east Devon and Torbay Development Agency.

The district councils and Exeter city council provide business advice and the local authority has officers available to signpost to appropriate advice agencies, for further information, use the social care business relations inbox:

Enterprise Finance

A further group of organisations provides access to enterprise finance.  In order to improve the efficiency of linkages between these various bodies, the Devon Business Finance Network has been created.  Contact Andrew Lightfoot: for details.

Web based sources of information on business finance include,  and

Banks continue to be by far the largest source of business loans and it is advised that you contact your bank manager to start enquiries.

However, there is also a range of complementary funding.  Because the picture is complex and subject to change, it is suggested that you use one of the websites to access this information or one of the business support agencies listed

NB Devon County Council take can take no responsibility for the information provided by independent business advice organisations.

Workforce development

DCT is an employer lead consortia which focusses on supporting the private, voluntary and independent care and support sector. DCT commissions, delivers and signposts training, training opportunities, staff development and events for the consortium of health and social care and support employers who constitute the membership. Traditionally DCT has been centered on adult services, however this has recently changed and the partnerships remit now includes providers of children, young people and families services. This recent development means that there will be a growing list of courses that are relevant to providers of children’s services and these will be offered based on demand from the sector.

DCT aims to provide a programme of affordable and relevant workforce development courses, supporting providers to meet CQC, statutory and quality standards.

There is a programme of courses and qualifications available on the DCT website. This is not a prescriptive list and bespoke workforce development solutions can be delivered to best suit the needs and requirements of individual businesses and organisations. DCT also offers an annual conference which allows providers to access key information, workshops and diverse key note speakers.