Welsh Government

(2019 – ongoing)

CLES has been appointed as community wealth building partner to the Welsh government. Our role is to support anchor institutions in selected Public Services Board (PSB) areas across Wales to explore community wealth building approaches, with a focus on progressive procurement. This project is being delivered by CLES and the Wales Co-operative Centre.


  • The progressive national policy context in Wales provides a supportive framing for community wealth building approaches.
  • The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act means there is a specific legislative focus on improving the economic, social, environmental, and cultural well-being of people and communities in Wales.
  • The Welsh Government also prioritise strengthening the foundational economy – those sectors which deliver the everyday goods and services that people across Wales depend on.


The project has involved supporting anchor organisations in five clusters of PSBs across Wales to pursue progressive procurement approaches that maximise the impact of their spending on local businesses, jobs, wellbeing and increasing local economic multipliers. In particular we are focussing on how procurement spending can support vulnerable or at-risk businesses and enhance economic recovery and reform efforts.

The five geographical areas involved are:

  • North Wales: Conwy and Denbighshire
  • Mid Wales: Ceredigion and Powys
  • Gwent: Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Newport and Monmouthshire
  • Cwm Taf and Bridgend
  • Swansea Bay City Deal Region: Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire

Participating PSBs have followed the general approach outlined below:

Spend analysis

Analysis of the major anchor organisations spend, geographically, in sector terms, business size and type and an assessment of the vulnerability of different business sectors in the context of Covid-19.

Procurement and economic development lead workshop

Workshops introduce the theory and practice of progressive procurement and community wealth building more broadly and provide an opportunity to share and discuss the spend analysis. Facilitated discussions identify one or more priority themes or areas of focus for further exploration.

Working groups

Further workshops for each identified theme or area of focus to develop practical implementation plans.

Anchor collaboration

Anchors work together on implementing the plans, with ongoing support from CLES, the Wales Co-operative Centre and Welsh government.

Work to date

Construction and retrofit

Local authorities and registered social landlords have shared their expected pipelines for retrofit and new build construction and used this to develop a better understanding of the capacity of local markets to meet anticipated demand, make sure there is a consistent approach to maximising local social and economic impact and ensure a smoothing out of demand as well as joined up approaches to tenant and supplier engagement

Food procurement

Analysis of collective spend by anchor institutions on food at a granular level has enabled them to explore how shifts in purchasing could support their wider objectives in terms of carbon, public health, and a more regional and local focus on food production.

Enhancing opportunities for local SMEs and social businesses

Some anchor organisations have raised their procurement thresholds to ensure consistency across a regional geography, simplifying the procurement landscape for smaller businesses and social businesses so that procurement opportunities are easier to access.

Gathering more granular information on the potential local supplier base has provided intelligence which can be used by buyers to engage with more local businesses as potential suppliers and explore where procurement can support efforts to enhance and expand the role of social businesses in the local economy.

In mid-Wales, local authorities are exploring approaches to create new opportunities for social businesses where there are known local supply voids – for example, in construction and in health and social care.

Decarbonising supply chains

Conwy and Denbighshire Councils are developing approaches to decarbonise their procurement supply chains.  This includes efforts to quantify the carbon impact of their supply chains, identifying hotspots where they would want to prioritise disinvestment or focus efforts on supporting suppliers to decarbonise, and mapping out how carbon can be considered at different touchpoints across the cycle of commissioning and procurement.