UK Public Sector Collaborative Procurement – Harvest Low-Hanging Fruit

Collaboration can be complex, involving new frameworks or merging of services. Or it can be as simple as making a phone call to achieve significant results.

The prize is reduced spend; cost savings that squeeze more out of your budget without significantly affecting service levels and efficiency.

Andrew Coulcher, Director of the Business Solutions division of CIPS, stated “There are significant savings to be made if you can go to the market with a single voice,” on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show. He was stating the obvious to underline a point but it is the essence of collaborative procurement.

The most basic level of collaboration is for two or more public sector organisation to pool their requirements for a specific service. So, instead of a supplier being asked to tender for 100 oranges, the value of the contract is now 5,000 units, which demands a significantly lower unit price.

The illustration is deliberately simplistic to emphasise the central point that can get lost in a quagmire of distractions and excuses, ranging from overarching frameworks to mere lack of precedent in an organisation’s procurement process.

It is not difficult to organise. It requires only two things:

1 – a spark of initiative

2 – knowing whom to contact

Item #2 is now available through the Cross Sector Procurement Gateway service from Procure Tools. It’s a cloud based service that you access through your browser, just like any website. It tells you who is renewing their contract for oranges and when – across all sectors of the public service. Nationwide.

Think of it as your basket of low hanging fruit and a very easy starting point for collaboration that will inevitably lead to cross-fertilisation of ideas leading to other, perhaps even greater, procurement savings opportunities.