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Climbing the ladder

Tuesday June 29th, 2010

By Morven MacNeil, GO Features Editor

There are various organisations which can offer learning and development packages to help procurement professionals improve their skills in light of the latest efficiency targets.

The time for public sector procurement to shine has now arrived. Never before has procurement within the public sector enjoyed the leverage and levels of expectation placed upon it as it does now. If value for money is to be fully delivered from procurement spend, procurement professionals must ensure they continue to develop their skills and capabilities.

It could be argued that one of the most important issues to be addressed within procurement is training. Procurement professionals, as well as those who work in areas like social care, engineering, asset management and so forth, need to have the skills and competencies to perform their jobs professionally. They are not all necessarily to be found within procurement departments, but can be dispersed across authorities.

There are various organisations that provide training courses and schemes to optimise procurement skills and knowledge. These include the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), the Office of Government Commerce (OGC)’s Government Procurement Graduate Scheme (GPGS), and BiP Solutions’ Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS).

CIPS has a ladder of qualifications and provides education programmes for the purchasing and supply profession. There are six levels of qualifications, ranging from Level 2 to Level 7.

The aim of the GPGS recruitment drive, led by OGC’s Government Procurement Service (GPS), is to further raise the procurement skills base across the public sector and boost efforts to create a radical, creative and collaborative approach to procurement. The scheme offers the chance to bring both new graduates and people who already have careers in business, management or professional practice into government procurement.

Whether you work within public sector procurement or tender for public sector contracts, BiP Solutions’ PASS service can help you improve your efficiency and effectiveness. The PASS team of experienced consultants offer a range of expert services which can be tailored to meet your organisation’s specific needs – whether you are a buyer or a supplier.

The PASS team offer in-house training, focused events and unique consultancy services, to provide suppliers with invaluable guidance on how to win all-important public sector contracts, across every industry.

PASS training in action

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue (SFR) is just one example of a public sector organisation which has utilised the PASS training service. Over the past 12 months SFR staff have received in-house training on topics ranging from a general overview of EU procurement, to more specific areas of the procurement lifecycle which the organisation has identified for improvement in line with its Corporate Procurement Strategy Action Plan.

SFR has seen significant benefits within the organisation since the in-house training was carried out. Stephen McDonagh MCIPS, Procurement Manager at SFR, said: “It is recognised that public sector procurement is continually evolving, with new initiatives continually being introduced together with new case law which directly affects the role which staff undertake. 

“The in-house training courses provide by PASS allow staff to consider such matters in a structured environment and discuss with their peers, in an open manner, the implications of these changes. The main benefit from the training is that staff can apply with confidence the guidance and best practice which has been received from recognised experts in the field of public procurement.”

Continual learning and development is fundamental in achieving not just departmental objectives but also the strategic procurement aims of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, as stated in the organisation’s Corporate Procurement Strategy. SFR recognises that improving its overall procurement capability and skills underpins its strategic procurement aim in relation to leadership and governance and assists the organisation in achieving its procurement vision – ‘superior performance’.

Mr McDonagh added: “SFR recognises the importance of strong, effective leadership and governance of our procurement activity and the benefits that this can bring to the organisation through the effective use of our resources to ensure best value.

“Improvements and enhancements in the knowledge and skills of our staff through targeted training and development programmes, such as those provided by PASS, are fundamental in achieving this.”

The public sector in particular has some steep challenges to overcome to enable it to meet the demanding targets and expectations placed on it. It is the intention of initiatives such as those discussed above to help drive this agenda forward in order to create the most effective and informed public sector procurement community in the world.

Further information

For further information on PASS, please visit:

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