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Five ways to beat the efficiency challenge

Wednesday August 4th, 2010

The new Coalition Government’s Emergency Budget has recommended an extra £6.2 billion of savings for 2010-11. This will impact on almost all public procurement departments, especially with nearly £2 billion of projects approved since 1 January this year also having been cancelled.

With public procurement policy, spending and departmental structures all coming under intense scrutiny these measures will inevitably mean structural changes within local and central government departments – and, unfortunately, job cuts for some organisations.

However, instead of focusing on the negative, procurement professionals should be looking at this as an opportunity, as your moment to make your mark in the industry.

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.

To help navigate these changes, the new GO blog will focus on five key areas that can help you achieve the new efficiency challenges by:

1)     Investing in learning and development

2)      Maximising eProcurement tools

3)      Looking at ways to outsource

4)      Implementing innovative ideas

5)      Increasing collaborative working

Part 1 – Investing in learning and development

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.

These organisations include:

  • The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS). 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 Office of Government Commerce (OGC)’s Government Procurement Graduate Scheme (GPGS). 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.
  • BiP Solutions’ Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS). 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.

Key benefits for procurement professionals undertaking learning and development include:

1)      Maximising your skills

2)      Improving your understanding of new legislation 

3)      Developing innovative ways of working and problem-solving

4)      Keeping up to speed with the latest technological tools

5)      Gaining high-profile, distinguished qualifications

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue (SFR) is just one example of a public sector organisation which has utilised the PASS training service. Stephen McDonagh MCIPS, Procurement Manager at SFR, said: “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.”

Another cost-effective way of maximising your learning and development opportunities is through events and conferences which provide useful and informative workshops for you to attend. Events such as Procurex Scotland and Procurex National are a great educational resource, providing a vast array of associated free-to-attend skills workshops, training seminars and conference streams. You can also share best practice at the GO Awards Scotland 2010-11, held on the evening of day one of Procurex Scotland 2010.

To find out more, take a look at the latest issue of GO which includes a special section on Learning and Development that gives practical examples of how to improve your procurement knowledge.

So, join the conversation – click the Comment button and let us know if you believe that sharpening your skills will help you and your organisation beat the latest spending crunch or if you think there are other ways of improving your learning and development.

Coming soon, Part 2 – Maximising eProcurement tools

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