The main focus for this forum was the incoming spending review and a discussion on its likely implications for procurement functions in local public services.

The speakers were:

  • Emma Graham, Crown Commercial Service
  • Tina Holland, LGA
  • Lizzy Grayson, Wendy Clarke, YPO
  • Peter Schofield, AGMA

The forum was chaired by Ian Brown, Manchester City Council. In addition, there was a long period given over to an “open house” roundtable discussion on the priorities opportunities for procurement.

The slides from the meeting are available here (note that it is best to log into the Knowledge Hub first here before clicking the link). Here’s summary of each part of forum:

Emma Grayling, Crown Commercial Service

Emma focussed on the opportunities presented by more strategic sourcing and post contract delivery and not just the procurement process. In particular she highlighted the work that CCS  has done a work on standard specifications.

Emma went on to talk about a number of areas where best value could be delivered to achieve greater value: Deploying eAuctions increasingly and Dynamic Purchasing Systems.

Emma wrapped up by challenging colleagues to think differently and engage with them.

Tina Holland, LGA

Tina focussed on the likely implications of the spending review which is on top of a 40% reduction in grant payments over last 5 years. She highlighted some stark statistics: there are 350,000 less staff and 150,000 less people receiving adult social care now. However sector has risen to the challenge and is continuing to deliver with satisfaction and trust levels remaining high. Unfortunately the next five years going to be more of the same.

Looking ahead, Tina highlighted that funding is going up for NHS and education, so everyone else will be taking a bigger hit. That isn’t to say that within SR process there aren’t opportunities for “spend to save” projects and initial submissions on this had to be made by 4 Sept.

She pointed out that what has gone in is not set in stone: the LGA is seeking more really good ideas. The submission regards procurement is called “Spending Smarter: A Shared Commitment”.

Tina then talked through a number of specific proposals and there was a general discussion.

Open house roundtable

This was followed by the roundtable discussion during which colleagues highlighted some of the opportunities they felt the sector leadership should consider:

  • The visibility of procurement and its role working with council functions is critical.
  • Innovative approaches to wellness contracts needed. Market development with SMEs is important to fill the gaps.
  • The measurement of social value is wider than directly financial – it should be considered in the round otherwise it may drive perverse behaviour. This should be more about “social value added” not savings. However it might be that this wider approach can be monetised using a more sophisticated “whole system” measurement.
  • There ought to be national recognition of work which effectively delivers social value.
  • eInvoicing is something of a “no brainer”, however resourcing is required to deliver this successfully – both locally and with local markets. It was however pointed out that the benefits of eInvoicing are much less, if at all, with small low volume organisations. A better strategy is a combination of invoice consolidation with small businesses and eInvoicing with higher volume invoices with larger organisations.
  • The procurement regimes in social care and health are very different causing problems. They ought to be brought together at a national level. Part of this is providing CCGs and local government with a common language which is based on the narrative that procurement is not a threat.
  • A national initiative to provide greater understanding of spend would be welcomed, however this ought to follow the principle of “better, not the same” i.e. a consistent approach that allows each area to use its own solution as many good ones are already in place.
  • The Local Government representatives idea has traction and would be valued. This should be considered alongside CCGs.
  • Not only is there a need for eInvoicing, but a single eOrder standard is required and a process to support its adoption.
  • There is a specific opportunity regards mobile device and service contracts. Support from CCS to understand the market and negotiate would be valued.
  • Similarly, there is a need for a central contract to negotiate income from disposal of recycled goods as intermediates are making significant returns which should accrue to councils.

Lizzy Grayson, Wendy Clarke, YPO

Wendy started, highlighting that £101m has been given back to the sector by YPO including £2.5m to the NW through the dividend. She pointed out the value of the YPO category councils and the positive feedback from attendees on the advice and support available from YPO in, for example, HR services.

Lizzy talked through the rationale which resulted in the HR solution and services framework, including the lot for managed services and professionals (please refer to the slides).

She went on to point out the Wakefield Wheelchairs tender support as a demonstration of tender support. There was a question about how this was funded and Lizzy made the point that this was absorbed within the wider opportunity presented by framework.

Wendy talked about work with Fire and new associate members coming on board in the NW then wrapped up with a video from one of the recent category councils. The video is online here.

Peter Schofield, AGMA

With time pressing, Peter quickly updated colleagues on a number of activities relating to Greater Manchester and the National Advisory Group.

This included the new social value toolkit and the eLearning programme being adopted by most of the councils in Greater Manchester which Peter offered to send out if others want to see it. CLES is measuring the impact of social value looking across top 300 suppliers.

Moving on, Peter talked through the NAG work and highlighted links to the new fraud guidance. He followed this with an update on the new AGMA / NEPO specialist professional services framework that has been arranged. There was then a discussion about part B regs.

Coming up

The next event will be in December but dont miss:

The Connected Procurement Innovation Award nominations are open!

The next event is on Income Generation and is on: 16 Oct.