In October Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government announced that a supplier had been appointed to support a pilot for creation of a ‘Procurement Centre of Excellence’ to provide practical support to Welsh public sector procurement teams.
The Digital Strategy for Wales sets out ambitions for high quality public services supported by a strong digital economy with a public sector which understands how they should work with the market to deliver what they need in a responsive and flexible way.
Work on the Centre has now kicked off with our suppliers CURSHAW and Perago and in this first blog post about the work, Victoria Ford from Perago, explains a bit about the focus of the work and how you can get involved.
Outside of the profession, procurement is often seen as the means to buy the goods and services you need as efficiently as possible while staying within procurement law and rules. Non-procurement people often don’t know what those rules are and rely on procurement colleagues to keep them on the straight and narrow. And that’s where it ends. The reality is that commercial and procurement are key to delivery of the policies and legislation that have the potential to change the shape of Wales and public service delivery. From climate change to the cost-of-living crisis, the commercial decisions the public sector takes can, and should, lead to positive change.
The focus of our work
Last year Welsh Government carried out a discovery exercise to better understand what support is needed. Our focus is now to consider the services that will:
- support commercial and procurement professionals in Wales better to understand and implement policy through their work
- build commercial and procurement capability through a comprehensive skills programme and develop a pipeline of talent for organisations
- make good practice easily available and join up people and organisations to share knowledge and experience through communities of practice
The findings of the discovery exercise supported creation of a ‘Procurement Centre of Excellence’ with a focus on reimagining the procurement profession and its role in policy delivery to create better outcomes for current and future generations. Our first steps will be as an enabler, bringing procurement and commercial professionals across Wales together to share knowledge and experience. From a policy perspective we’ll be focusing on Net Zero and sustainable development, a priority for Wales and the climate emergency we face.
What’s in a name?
One of our first tasks has been to get insight and feedback from the community about the purpose and focus of our work and also to understand what best to call it! From our survey at Procurex in Cardiff last month, we heard that some people felt the name ‘Procurement Centre of Excellence’ could be perceived as elitist, and not community focused. So we’re doing some work to create a name that is more collaborative and inclusive. We’ll be blogging about that process, what we learnt and the new name soon.
All about community
This is about community. We need to build a commercial community that is ambitious, outcome driven and addresses the challenges we face across Wales.
In this next alpha phase of the project we are working with the commercial and procurement communities across Wales to co-design the most promising ideas for developing services that were identified during discovery.
Our research also told us that the commercial community wants to focus on preparing for regulatory changes, understanding the opportunities around sustainable procurement and building contract management skills, so we’ll start here.
By generating a wide range of possible solutions to address these needs we can make sure the service ideas will work practically and be tailored to the specific needs of the Welsh market. We want to tap into creativity and user-centred ways of working to test the products that will deliver the outcomes needed with the skills, capability and support to work differently.
We need you!
This work is about collaboration, sharing openly, building communities and creating progress and pace and we need procurement and commercial professionals to get involved.
We’ll be asking people to get involved over the next couple of months and it should only take a few hours of your time but will be invaluable in making sure we create value for the procurement community in Wales; created and delivered by the teams that understand the challenges and can be part of the solutions. If you’d like to be part of testing the new services that are being developed, then please get in touch.
Managing Director, Perago