In this second blogpost from our series about procurement, Warren, a member of our delivery team, provides an update on how the ‘Procurement Centre of Excellence’ is developing.
In our first guest blog post Bringing Wales’ commercial and procurement communities together, Victoria talked about the ‘Procurement Centre of Excellence’ alpha project and the aims of this project stage.
‘We’re working with commercial and procurement practitioners, across existing Welsh public sector communities, to co-design the most promising ideas for developing services that were identified during the initial discovery phase of the project.’
Collaboration, communication and capability
The Digital Strategy for Wales sets out how public sector procurement has a real opportunity to support and grow Welsh businesses and digital skills.
We want to reimagine the procurement profession and its role in creating better outcomes for current and future generations.
In this project we’ll be looking at how we can support both communities and practices, bringing the two together to improve procurement delivery in Wales.
The short and winding road to 2030
In its policy insights ‘The Short and Winding Road to 2030: Measuring Distance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Targets’ the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states:
“Implementing the [sustainable development goals] as an integrated and coherent set represents a major challenge for all countries. Addressing interactions between economic, social and environmental goals in a balanced manner, while avoiding negative effects on the well-being of people here and now, elsewhere and later, is among the most significant challenges to implementing the SDGs.”
In Wales, the Well-being of Future Generations Act positions us as a global leader in legislating to improve the environment, economy, society and culture for the people of Wales and for the planet, now and for the future.
Likewise, the Net zero carbon status by 2030: A route map for decarbonisation across the Welsh public sector provides a strategic framework to help assess what’s in place and what’s needed to get to meet our public sector targets, and to monitor progress over time.
Procurement is one of four priority areas for action in the route map. The goals for procurement for the 2022 to 2026 phase that are key to our work include:
- development of guidance, tools and training for procurement professionals to support the reduction of carbon throughout the commercial lifecycle; and,
- targeted support and skills development within the supply chain to increase the proportion of Welsh suppliers who can deliver the required goods and services and are, therefore, eligible for contracts.
The opportunity for community and practice
Between April 2023 and March 2024, the UK public sector commercial landscape will change once the Procurement Bill receives Royal Assent. Even more so the case in Wales when the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill is implemented.
These changes present a rare opportunity for commercial and procurement to be reimagined, providing the community and practice embraces the art of the possible in its fullest sense.
The Cabinet Office’s Transforming Public Procurement team is taking this approach to implement the new legislation at scale – communities of practice will support formal learning and development, where practitioners can share, discuss and reflect on best practice, challenges, and opportunities.
This approach was influenced by the Crown Commercial Service buying digital community, set up in 2018 to form part of the diverse range of service communities. The buying digital community was successful because of:
- unwavering leadership and support;
- the active contributions of a wide range of practitioners willing to openly and honestly share their diverse perspectives; and,
- the visibility of this community’s activities.
Such approaches aren’t unique to the UK; the OECD’s Public Governance Review System Change in Slovenia: Making Public Procurement More Effective (2020) explains that the highest priority was the need for procurement communities of practice and other networks, both formal and informal, to facilitate the exchange of knowledge.
Join our testing team
The procurement communities and practice in Wales are at the heart of our work and we need procurement and commercial professionals to get involved.
We’ve created a testing team, a group from across the procurement communities in Wales, to help shape the services that will support this new approach. We’re keen to get as many people as possible involved. This should only take a few hours of your time but will be invaluable in making sure we create value for Welsh practitioners and the community.
If you’d like to be part of testing the new services that are being developed, then please get in touch.