Search in Features

Q&A with Adrian Davies, Contracting Manager for Crescent Purchasing Consortium

Wednesday March 19th, 2014

As the build up to the GO Supplier Summit, which takes place on 29 April at Manchester Central Exhibition Centre, continues, we talk to Adrian Davies,  the Contracting Manager for the Crescent Purchasing Consortium and one of the key speakers at next month’s Conference.

Adrian Davies

Adrian Davies

What do you think should be the top priorities for procurement teams in the private sector who bid for public sector further education contracts?

Research the opportunities. If a supplier is currently servicing the sector, then how might they expand their presence? If a supplier is new to the sector, then speak to purchasers to find out the potential routes to market. If the supply area is one that is covered by frameworks, then look to see when these expire, where they are advertised and how the supplier can participate in them.

What are the main demands and challenges facing further education procurement?

As with all sectors the reduction in funding over the last few years has ensured that value for money is a key driver for procurement. Clearly, when spending budgets paid for by taxpayers, the sector needs to be transparent and efficient; cost is certainly a key element, but quality and reliability are absolutely vital.

Where are the main opportunities in the further education sector?

We’ve seen a strong growth in frameworks for services such as outsourced catering and cleaning. Hopefully the economy will continue to recover, and while funding is unlikely to increase within the sector there are still massive opportunities for suppliers across a broad range of products and services. With framework agreements having to be retendered at least every four years there are lots of opportunities for suppliers to tender for frameworks at a regional and national level through a variety of routes.

What does the future of further education procurement look like?

The sector has never been cash rich, but clearly suppliers can only reduce margins so far before it becomes uneconomical for them to do business. The future will therefore no doubt see efficiencies sought through innovation and technology. We have seen an increase in procurement cards and use of the internet for purchasing and we’re sure this will continue. With reduced resources we’re also likely to see more collaborative procurements, such as groups of institutions running further competitions under frameworks. This reduces the processing costs to the institutions and provides a great opportunity for the successful supplier.


 About Adrian Davis

Adrian has worked within the Further Education sector for over 20 years, of which 15 years have been within purchasing roles. Adrian is a professionally qualified Member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (MCIPS).  Having firstly worked within a Further Education College and then for Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC), he is fully versed with the demands and challenges of the sector. Adrian is the Contracting Manager for CPC, having responsibility for the consortium’s contracting team and contracting programme. He is also a member of CPC’s Senior Management Team, a demanding role in helping to grow and develop this exciting organisation.

Adrian Davies, Contracting Manager, Crescent Purchasing Consortium will speak at the GO Public Sector Supplier Summit which takes place on the 29 April 2014 at the Manchester Central Exhibition Centre. His keynote presentation will look at “Doing Business with Further Education.”


Gov Opps training partner, PASS (Procurement Advice & Support Service) runs procurement training events for the private sector, including the New EU Directives – A Supplier’s Perspective and An Introduction To Public Procurement. For more information, click here.

Leave a Reply