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UK General Election 2019: What Next?

The General Election of 12 December 2019 gave the Conservative party a comfortable majority, meaning that the Government will likely find it easy to introduce the legislation and changes to public spending that they wish. Here, we review what we know so far about the pledges the Government made before the election, and the effect they are likely to have for business with the public sector.

As the situation continues to develop, the BiP Solutions news page will bring you the latest updates, and what they mean for public procurement.

Spending pledges

Incumbent Chancellor Sajid Javid has proposed revision of the rules concerning government borrowing, to allow borrowing so long as debt does not exceed 3% of GDP, rather than 2%. This allows for potentially dramatically greater spending. The Conservatives’ election manifesto pledges were costed at an increase in spending of £2.9bn a year by 2022. The NHS has also been a major source of discussion, with a proposed bill enshrining an increase in funding for the NHS, alongside the pledge to recruit thousands more nurses. Similarly, the Conservatives have pledged to recruit more police officers. Such recruitment would mean, for example, a greater requirement for uniforms, catering, facilities management, payroll and HR solutions and other services. Investment into people usually requires investment into infrastructure – for example new buildings or the renovation and re-fit of existing premises – which in turn drives a fresh cycle of investment into furniture, IT equipment and other goods.

Infrastructure is another potential major source of investment, with the Conservative manifesto allowing for up to £100bn in additional capital spending over the next five years. Of this amount, £22bn has been designated for specific projects, such as £2bn on fixing potholes and £2.2bn on a public sector carbon reduction scheme. £78bn of the infrastructure fund remains to be allocated. You can read more about the outcome of the election and what it means for the construction industry at Construction Online.

On tax, the Conservative manifesto pledges to raise the national insurance threshold to £9500 from next year, and that there will be no rises in rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT. There is also a reaffirmation of the party’s pledge to make the UK a carbon-neutral country by 2050, with the attendant spending on renewable energy and associated technology. More speculatively, there have also been discussions of reforming central government departments such as the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. To read more about the outcomes of the election for the MoD and the defence industry, visit Defence Online.

To read more about key trends for public procurement in the wake of the general election, download our recent report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond.’ Published ahead of the election, this report includes detailed breakdown of data relating to public sector notices before and after election periods, and describes the major themes that will shape public procurement in 2020.

Brexit confirmed?

The Conservatives’ election victory also appears to reduce some of the uncertainty around Brexit. The Government will seek to implement the Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously negotiated with the EU, ahead of 31 January. The Conservative party has previously stated that the terms of a trade deal with the EU will be negotiated in 2020, with the aim that the UK trades outside of the EU single market and any form of customs union. The Cabinet Office has suggested a divergence of procurement rules from EU standards post-Brexit, with the aim of making it simpler for smaller firms to bid for local government contracts. Such changes may be dependent, however, on the terms of the future trading relationship with the EU, and the required alignment of terms.

During the transition period, the UK will remain aligned with EU rules. The Conservative party have previously stated that there will be no extension to the transition period beyond the end of 2020, and the Prime Minister will potentially modify the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to enshrine this in law. The date of the end of the transition period is significant as, in spite of the most recent Brexit extension up to 31 January 2020, trade regulations effectively replicating a ‘no-deal Brexit’ will remain the legal default unless a trade agreement superseding this is ratified by both the EU and the UK Parliament. This remains the case in spite of the Withdrawal Agreement previously negotiated with the EU.

For all the latest news, guidance and information relating to Brexit and public procurement, visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit resources page. Alongside guidance on how businesses can best prepare for a ‘no-deal Brexit’, our recent report ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers’ is also available. Based on a detailed survey of public sector procurement leaders, this research report reveals what the public sector really thinks of Brexit, and how prepared the public sector is – including for a ‘no-deal’ outcome.

“Good for business, good for communities”: Local economies and procurement at Procurex Scotland 2019

Procurex Scotland 2019 and the 15th Scottish Government National Procurement Conference were held this year on 29 October at the SEC, Glasgow. You can access our event report on procurement and sustainability here. In the second of our reports looking back at some of the highlights and key themes of the day, six weeks on, we look at the links between procurement and social benefit. Although considering social value as part of any procurement exercise has been mandatory for buying organisations since 2012, buyers and suppliers are increasingly aware that areas such as environmental impact, community activities and contribution to the local economy are increasingly important to service users, employees and businesses. As the talks at Procurex Scotland and the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference showed, considering social impact is also good for business too, with community sustainability going hand in hand with economic growth.

The local economy agenda

Kate Forbes MSP at Procurex Scotland 2019

A keynote address from Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, began the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference. Ms Forbes’ talk was a survey of many of the ways in which procurement can effect change, on a local and global level. Insisting that “there is great collective power in this room,” Ms Forbes described the need to “build resilience into our own organisations, but also organisations we have dealings with.”

Emphasising the role of building sustainable economies at the local level, Ms Forbes stated that “it’s easy to look at the national picture without realising how powerful the local picture is.” She pointed out that issues of corporate responsibility such as paying a real living wage or addressing gender inequality in the workplace are not simply beneficial for their own sake, but stimulate local economies – in turn feeding back into business. Reminding the Conference audience that “your spend creates £10bn of economic activity,” Ms Forbes underlined the extent to which procurement has a major role to play in stimulating local economies.

An important element of contributing to local economies, as was addressed by several of the day’s speakers, is the role of SMEs. The Supply2Gov tender alerts service allows SMEs to be alerted to upcoming opportunities, through access to the UK and Republic of Ireland’s largest database of public sector contracts. With a particular focus on organisations newer to public sector tendering, Supply2Gov allows businesses to access alerts from the whole of the UK, or simply a local area of their choosing, free of charge. For buyers looking to work more with SMEs, CompeteFor exists to deliver sustainable and measurable community benefits through ‘opening up’ major supply chains from capital expenditure projects to SMEs and local businesses. Aiming for transparency of opportunities through the entire supply chain, CompeteFor’s free service enables businesses to compete for contract opportunities linked to major buying organisations in both the public and private sector – increasing the diversity of organisations participating in the supply chain, and ensuring ethical transparency throughout.

Local communities, national benefits

Scott Bell at the National Procurement Conference

Following Ms Forbes was Scott Bell, Deputy Director of Procurement Development and Construction with the Scottish Government, whose talk focused on specific instances of procurement success that have had wider community benefits. These included the case of a school in Inverclyde which, thanks to a national framework, was able to provide iPads for some of its poorest pupils to use in class, along with the necessary training for teachers; and the ‘baby box’ delivered to every new parent in Scotland, a GO Award-winning project delivered by APS Group. However, as Mr Bell pointed out, the benefits of procurement “are not just about the contract.” By way of example, he pointed to the case of a family in South Uist who were able to have a new boiler fitted in their home – after having to use an oil burner for heat – thanks to the Warmworks scheme. Aside from the benefit to the family, Mr Bell pointed to the fact that Warmworks is a collaboration between a business, a third sector organisation and a charity. The procurement process itself therefore and the collaboration are “good for business, good for employees and good for communities.” Introducing the National Performance Framework, Mr Bell explained that it “describes the Scotland we aspire to.” Despite – or because of – showing the benefits that can be achieved through the procurement process as well as the end result, Mr Bell impressed on delegates that “purpose beats process.”

A seemingly very different topic was addressed in the talk by Paul McNeill, Head of Community Development at Scottish Football. Mr McNeill said that “the impact of football is far bigger than 22 men running about a field”, claiming that “every household in Scotland has some kind of engagement with football” – from supporting teams as fans to working for a business that sponsors or is involved in providing building materials for stadiums. Mr McNeill said that the Scottish FA recognised a need to “take responsibility for being the country’s biggest sport,” and to communicate better the social and business benefits of football to Scotland. Looking at the “social return on investment,” Mr McNeill talked about the economic, social and health, as well as financial, benefits of grassroots football, and the importance of making sure these benefits are communicated widely.

Paul McNeill of the Scottish FA

Beside the financial importance of football for Scotland and Scottish communities, which Mr McNeill made very clear, the link between football and procurement more widely may not seem immediately obvious. However, there was an interesting discussion between Mr Bell and Mr McNeill after the latter’s talk, which made clear how the two fields can learn from each other. Mr McNeill’s talk made clear, said Mr Bell, the importance of leadership space, and how strategic thinking from leaders in key positions can ensure that a wider agenda, and the benefits that it will have, are communicated clearly to both end-users and stakeholders. Moreover, said Mr Bell, “the place agenda features very highly” for procurement in Scotland, with an increased focus on benefiting local economies and communities, which – as the talks at the National Procurement Conference showed – have a positive effect on sustaining economic growth. The Scottish FA provides “a great example,” Mr Bell noted, “of taking something national and applying it locally” – making apparent how a large-scale national industry can benefit local communities, as well as showing how small-scale local economic growth can scale up.

Sharing best practice, celebrating success

The strength of Scottish procurement in tackling local issues was also recognised in a keynote talk by Malcolm Harrison, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), and Nikki Archer, Deputy Director, Head of Procurement and Commercial Policy & Strategy and Head of Procurement Profession with the Scottish Government. Kicking off the GO Excellence Live Stage at Procurex Scotland, Mr Harrison and Ms Archer, interviewed by Scotland Tonight presenter Rona Dougall, described some of the major trends and challenges currently facing procurement in Scotland.

Malcolm Harrison, Nikki Archer and Rona Dougall at the GO Excellence Live Stage

Mr Harrison suggested that “there are areas where Scotland is leading best practice internationally,” particularly noting social value and the impact on local communities. Ms Archer agreed that “the holistic approach [Scotland] takes is unique.” Ms Archer said that assuring social value and a positive wider impact through procurement is “not a tick-box exercise,” urging delegates to look at priorities in individual cases. For example, where a supply chain includes a high proportion of SMEs, Ms Archer suggested that focusing on the local economy impact would be particularly important. This is not always a simple fix, however, and Ms Archer added that “buyers deserve recognition for managing these challenges.”

The GO Awards series of events aims to recognise and celebrate excellence in all aspects of procurement from across the UK, from the public, private and third sectors. As Mr Harrison and Ms Archer kicked off a series of interviews with nominees for this year’s GO Awards Scotland, Ms Archer said that while the procurement environment in Scotland is unique, it is important for Scottish procurement leaders to share best practice with colleagues in Wales and Northern Ireland too. The GO Awards Northern Ireland and GO Awards Wales 2020 events will take place on 10 March and 18 March, respectively, and entries are now open. As well as celebrating organisations’ success and innovation in procurement, the Awards are a great opportunity for teams to share best practice with colleagues and potential partners, including in areas such as Social Value, Environmental Impact and Supplier Relationship Management. See the full list of categories here. The nominations will be announced at the end of January, so enter your organisation or team soon to make sure their success is recognised.

New research report: ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers’

Against the backdrop of a further Brexit extension, and a general election which could have a significant impact on the form Brexit takes, we are excited to reveal the results of the latest research survey from iGov Survey in partnership with BiP Solutions and Delta eSourcing, ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers.’

Cover of new report 'Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers'

With UK government public procurement spend totalling around £284 bn per year, public sector buyers account for around 13% of UK GDP. It’s therefore essential to consider the potential impact of Brexit on various possible scenarios, such as a ‘no-deal Brexit’, on public procurement – as well as highlighting potential areas of opportunity. It is important to note that a ‘no-deal’ outcome is possible at the end of the transition period at the end of 2020, even if a Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, meaning that it is still important to consider the implications of a ‘no-deal Brexit.’

Capturing the opinions of procurement leaders allows for developing a real picture of the level of knowledge and aspirations of the public sector, in addition to what is already known about the legal position of procurement in relation to Brexit. This research project surveyed procurement leaders from throughout the public sector – from local and central government and the NHS to higher education and housing associations – for their predictions, concerns and aspirations around what effects Brexit will have on UK public procurement. The survey explores areas such as:

  • The key aspects of procurement on which Brexit may have an impact
  • Areas where the expectation of Brexit has already had an impact
  • The level of impact that different Brexit scenarios, including a ‘no-deal Brexit’, might have
  • The level of preparation procurement leaders have undertaken for various Brexit scenarios

Over 80 organisations from across the UK participated, and the new survey report includes a full breakdown of the results, including analysis of how responses differed by sector and where correlations and contradictions appear. Key findings include:

  • There is a perceived lack of clarity as to the extent of Brexit’s impact on procurement.
  • A majority of procurement leaders have not undertaken preparations for Brexit.
  • Cost is viewed as the area where the impact of Brexit will be felt most keenly.
  • There is concern about the potential for disruption to supply chains, but a lack of clarity as to what the practical effect will be.
  • However, in some areas of procurement, Brexit is predicted to have little effect.

Download your copy of the full report here. Visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit resources page to keep up-to-date with all the latest information and guidance around Brexit, as the situation continues to develop.

Local Government Procurement Expo 2019: Transformation and Innovation

This year’s Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE) showcase was held on Thursday 28 November at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith. As the premier event dedicated to the development of the UK local government procurement marketplace, and officially supported by the Local Government Association, LGPE remains an unmissable date in the public sector business calendar. Procurement professionals from across local government departments the length and breadth of the UK came together to discuss the major ongoing themes affecting the industry, from the embrace of social value to initiatives supporting smaller businesses, to drive efficient and effective procurement in this vital sector.

Increasing innovation in public procurement

Malcolm Harbour CBE at LGPE 2019

Malcolm Harbour CBE at LGPE 2019

One of the highlights of the day was the speech delivered by Malcolm Harbour, Chair of the Local Government Association Task and Finish Group on Public Procurement of Innovation, on how the procurement rules can be innovation-friendly if organisations know how to use them correctly. Mr Harbour said that driving innovation begins at the root of a company, with management responsible for creating “a culture in which you encourage people to think about new ways to do things and how you want to do them.” He further commented how “alternative procurement procedures including innovation partnerships, negotiations and working closely with suppliers in a commercial partnership” can inspire collaboration between buyers and suppliers. Lucy Patchett from Supply Management covered Mr Harbour’s speech in detail in an article, which you can read here.

Another key speaker was Kevin O’Malley, Innovation/SBRI Lead at Innovate UK. Mr O’Malley’s speech focused on how effective procurement strategies can help solve the complex public sector service challenges of today, with support for innovative SMEs at the heart of this endeavour. Lizzy Grayson’s session on supporting apprenticeships and Sarah Bass’s on ‘Preventing Modern Slavery in the Supply Chain’ continued the social value theme, with lively and informative discussions afterwards.

“A number of people came to speak to me afterwards and queued up… People wanted to share their experiences with me, and they also wanted to ask what we’d done and share documents with them which I was absolutely thrilled to do. One individual came up to me and said she’s aware of an individual who she believes is being trafficked into the UK and she’s struggling with what to do, so I’ve been able to support that. If there’s one thing I’ve done today [at LGPE] it’s preventing someone from being in modern slavery – which is just amazing.” – Sarah Bass, Commissioning, Procurement and Brokerage Service Delivery Manager at Telford and Wrekin Council

Transforming local government procurement

One interesting theme that was echoed throughout the event by all organisations, across the public and private sectors alike, was just how exciting a time it is to work in the UK local government procurement marketplace. Across the many special features and zones of the event, there was an overwhelmingly positive understanding of the sheer size of the opportunity available in the sector – and an appreciation that buyers and suppliers should work together to make a real difference to the lives of people across all our communities. Through many passionate speeches and insightful conversations, the message was truly delivered how imperative it is that events like LGPE exist to provide a platform for professionals to network and share experiences that can drive positive change.

Looking to the future

Thank you to all the 700-plus delegates who attended LGPE 2019, the 40-plus organisations that exhibited on the day and the 20-odd speakers who delivered such important and insightful sessions. We hope the impact of this year’s LGPE showcase will continue to be felt for a long time to come. Keep your eyes peeled for LGPE 2020 announcements and register your interest soon on the LGPE website.

 

“An incredible responsibility”: Procurement and sustainability at Procurex Scotland 2019

One month on from Procurex Scotland 2019 and the 15th Annual Scottish Government National Procurement Conference, held this year on 29 October at the SEC Glasgow, we look back at some of the major themes of the day. The event saw some of the key current and future trends for procurement discussed in depth, and among the most prevalent themes was environmental impact.

Climate change and environmental impact are issues that are increasingly being addressed in many aspects of business as well as people’s everyday lives. Given the increasing focus on social value in procurement, and the awareness that how organisations choose to spend their money can have major impacts, it is perhaps not surprising that the role procurement can play in combating climate change has increasingly come to the fore.

Managing resources

Kate Forbes MSP

Kate Forbes MSP

Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, began the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference with a keynote address focusing on “the power of procurement.” Introduced by the day’s chair, Scotland Tonight’s Rona Dougall, as “having long been a champion of the environment,” Ms Forbes stressed that “we have a collective responsibility to our social and economic wellbeing.”

Her ministerial address emphasised two key message that were to be repeated throughout the day: that the purchasing decisions procurement leaders make have a real power to influence change; and that contributing to local economies, addressing global issues like climate change and long-term business growth are not contradictory aims. Ms Forbes pointed to ideas such as challenging the “need to buy” – as reduction in resource consumption contributes to both environmental and economic sustainability.

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), also discussed sustainability and environmental issues in his speech on some of the most pressing issues for supply chain management. “We as procurement professionals have an incredible responsibility to look at how we use limited resources,” Mr Harrison said, once again emphasising the power that procurement professionals have to influence change. However, Mr Harrison also urged attendees not to “get caught up in the plastics debate.” While not attempting to downplay the environmental impact of plastics, particularly for oceans, Mr Harrison was keen to suggest that there are areas where plastics are in fact essential. He cited transport of time-sensitive medical products as an example of “a good use of plastics,” suggesting that the aim should not be to remove plastics altogether from supply chains, but to be critical and reflective of how they are used – reducing rather than eliminating their use. Mr Harrison concluded that, in light of environmental concerns as well as other ethical issues facing procurement, “this is a challenging environment for the profession – but it’s an exciting time.”

To address sustainability concerns, and understand how scarce or impact-heavy resources are used throughout their supply chains, it is important that public sector buyers have greater visibility of their entire supply chains. Supporting buying organisations to manage every stage of the tendering process and supply chain in a single solution, Delta eSourcing allows for greater end-to-end visibility of supply chains, giving greater transparency. Learn more about Delta here.

Showcasing success

Reiterating Kate Forbes’ earlier address, Caroline Colliston, Chair of the Business Leadership Group of the Scottish Business Pledge, made clear in her talk at the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference that “sustainability and long-term business growth are not competing objectives.” Ms Colliston used the image of a ripple becoming a wave, noting that small changes can add up to wider trends. Her talk pointed out that business decisions with an environmental impact do not only include large purchasing decisions, but also choices such as which hotels are booked for business travel – if travel is necessary.

Kersti Berge

Kersti Berge at the National Procurement Conference

Rounding off the main talks at the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference was a presentation from Kersti Berge, Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Scottish Government. Ms Berge began her talk by “going back to the science,” showing several graphs that illustrated the scale, speed and severity of climate change and “proving conclusively that human activity is a big factor.” Ms Berge also emphasised that climate change is not a remote issue for procurement, with the widespread wildfires in California in 2018, and Australia in 2019, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Ms Berge pointed out that, for example, insurance costs will rise dramatically for businesses with the increasing likelihood of extreme weather events.

Although Scotland is already world-leading in terms of taking steps to tackle climate change, thanks to Scottish Government legislation, Ms Berge said that, for the sake of business as well as the wider world, “we all have a role to play.” She pointed out that annual procurement spend in Scotland adds up to £11bn, and so can have a huge influence on the wider agenda. Inviting organisations to “mainstream” their successes, Ms Berge suggested procurement leaders “start early and think strategically to reach people who can influence,” to help cascade change throughout supply chains. She pointed out that there are many ways that small strategic changes can have a wider influence – for example, reducing the number of deliveries through reduced demand for goods or services means fewer vehicles on the roads and, in turn, reduced emissions. Although Ms Berge ended with a stark warning about the dangers of climate change for potential future generations, she also encouraged organisations to realise the scale of influence they can have – inviting them to “showcase your success.”

Attendees at Procurex Scotland 2019

Procurex Scotland brought together around 1500 buyers and suppliers

Early engagement – beginning conversations ahead of the formal tendering process – can help organisations share their successes and establish a position as a thought leader, even potentially influencing the factors that buyers consider in specifications. These kind of broader discussions than might be possible during the tendering process are made easier through Ingenium, the public sector data community containing every UK public sector leader, organised by job function and sector. Click here to learn more about how you can begin conversations to share your organisation’s values and showcase your success with the public sector.

As the major political parties campaign for the UK General Election on 12 December, climate change, sustainability and energy efficiency are high on the agenda for all parties, with several making commitments as to the year by which the UK should be carbon neutral. To find out more about the parties’ election manifesto pledges, and what they mean for business with the public sector, download the latest edition of our new report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers.’

Further reports on other key themes and trends discussed at Procurex Scotland 2019 and the Scottish Government 15th National Procurement Conference will be coming soon on the BiP Solutions site.

General Election 2019: The Manifestos

As the political parties’ campaigns for the UK General Election of 12 December continue, here we look at some of the major announcements from the parties’ manifestos, and what they mean for doing business with the public sector. All of the major parties have pledged a rise in public spending, meaning there will be an impact on business opportunities in areas with increased spending.

To learn more about what the parties’ manifesto pledges could mean for the public sector and UK business, how elections affect the number of public sector opportunities, and more about the major sources of opportunity for suppliers as we look ahead to 2020, download the latest edition of our report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead‘ (updated 28.11.2019). This document will continue to be updated with the latest intelligence as the situation develops.

The Conservative Party

The Conservative manifesto’s pledges are costed at an increase of £2.9bn a year by 2022. Alongside the pledge to recruit thousands more nurses for the NHS and more police officers, other policies include a £2bn fund for fixing potholes in roads. The pre-manifesto pledge to allow more borrowing for infrastructure projects has also been confirmed, with capital spend rising from £3.2bn next year to £8bn by the end of the next parliamentary session, including an aim to increase spend to make social housing more energy efficient.

The Labour Party

Labour have costed their manifesto pledges at £82.9bn. Labour have proposed a redefinition of the rules around government borrowing – considering overall ‘public sector net worth’, i.e. the value of the UK’s assets, instead of the national debt – to allow for this increased spend. For public sector workers, Labour have pledged year-on-year above-inflation pay rises, beginning with a 5% increase. Healthcare has come into focus, with the proposal of creating a new ‘National Care Service.’  Energy infrastructure and efficiency are a key area of focus, given the aim for net-zero carbon emissions by the 2030s, managed through a £250bn ‘green transformation fund.’ Labour have also announced intentions to invest in infrastructure more widely, with plans to build 150,000 social homes by the end of parliament, along with a commitment to the HS2 network, including extending it to Scotland.

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have also pledged a rise in public spending, costing their proposals at £63bn. Major announcements include a 1% rise in income tax, aiming to raise £7bn for the NHS and social care. The party have also announced a £130bn investment in public transport infrastructure, including a commitment to HS2, and the building of 300,000 new homes per year by 2024. Of particular interest to smaller businesses is the Liberal Democrats’ plan to replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy, applying to the overall land value of a commercial site rather than a calculation based on the buildings themselves. In addition to the previously announced ‘Skills Wallet’ of £10,000 per person for adult learning and skills training, skills shortages in the defence sector would be tackled by giving graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects one-off payments of £10,000 to become Armed Forces engineers.

Other parties

The positions of the UK’s other political parties could become particularly important if no party can form a majority government. Many flagship policies revolve around sustainability and energy efficiency. The Green Party aim to reduce the UK to ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030, based on £100bn of public spending into infrastructure, technology and associated jobs. Plaid Cymru have announced £15bn for a ‘Welsh Green Jobs Revolution’, while The Brexit Party have proposed that the UK no longer export any waste abroad, which would necessitate an investment in waste processing plants and associated jobs.

At the time of writing, the Scottish National Party and the Democratic Unionist Party are yet to publish their manifestos. This post will be updated as the situation develops.

But what about Brexit?

The political parties’ differing stances on the way in which the UK should leave the European Union – if at all – is not only a major policy in itself, but is claimed by several of the parties as the basis of their other spending plans.  The Conservative Party would seek to implement the Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously negotiated with the EU. The party has stated that the terms of a trade deal with the EU will be negotiated in 2020, with the aim that the UK trades outside of the EU single market and any form of customs union. The Conservatives have also stated that there will be no extension to the transition period, during which time the UK remains aligned with EU rules, beyond the end of 2020.

Labour meanwhile have stated they would negotiate a new Withdrawal Agreement with the EU within three months of coming to power, then put this Agreement to a legally binding public referendum, with remaining in the EU as an alternative option. Labour’s Agreement would aim for alignment with the EU single market and a UK-wide customs agreement with the EU. The Liberal Democrats favour revoking Article 50 unilaterally, meaning the UK would remain in the EU under the same terms as previously, which the party claims would provide a £50bn ‘remain bonus.’

Read the updated edition of our latest report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead’, for more detail on how the parties’ election pledges will affect business with the UK public sector. The report also includes detailed data on how elections since 2015 have affected the number of public sector opportunities, the major trends that will shape public procurement in 2020 and beyond, and how smart suppliers can get ahead of their competitors over the coming months. Download your copy here.

GO Awards Scotland 2019: Celebrating Procurement Success in Style

GO Awards Scotland 2019 trophies

This year’s GO Awards Scotland presentation took place on 29 October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, celebrating the best in all aspects of public procurement in Scotland.

Celebrating Scottish Innovation

Malcolm Harrison and Nikki Archer interviewed by Rona Dougall at the GO Awards Procurement Excellence Live Stage

The Awards ceremony itself, as part of the Scottish Festival of Procurement, was preceded by the 15th Annual Scottish Government National Procurement Conference and Procurex Scotland, taking place at the SEC Glasgow on the same day. A major focus of the day was the unique innovations that set Scottish procurement apart – exactly what the GO Awards celebrate.

Procurex Scotland included the GO Awards Procurement Excellence Live Stage, hosted by Scotland Tonight host Rona Dougall. After a joint interview with Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, and Nikki Archer, Head of Procurement and Commercial Policy & Strategy and Head of Procurement Profession at the Scottish Government, several of this year’s GO Awards Scotland finalists were interviewed onstage to describe the innovations that had led our judges to name them as finalists. Finalists interviewed included APS Group, Police Scotland, and Scotland Excel and Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company. There was also a ‘one year on’ interview with Lawrence Shackman from Transport Scotland, winners of last year’s GO Awards Scotland GO Excellence Award. Mr Shackman described the GO Awards as “a really fun Awards ceremony. I’ve been to other awards and nothing really compares!”

The GO Awards Scotland Presentation Ceremony

The evening presentation ceremony kicked off in style, with a black-tie champagne reception before guests were welcomed by a traditional piper. Presenter Rona Dougall welcomed guests before the official opening address from Ainslie McLaughlin, Director of Scottish Procurement and Commercial at the Scottish Government. Guests were then introduced to the work of the GO Awards official charity partner, the Realising Dreams Foundation.

Over the course of the evening, across 11 categories, awards were presented to 11 winners and seven Highly Commended entrants. The full list of Winners and Highly Commended entrants is available here.

The Awards presentation culminated with the GO Excellence Award. Unlike other awards, organisations cannot enter this category; instead, nominees are chosen directly by the GO Awards judging panel from among the rest of the evening’s winners. With an especially strong crop of entries this year, finalists for the GO Excellence Award were Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd and the University of Glasgow; Child Bereavement UK; and APS Group (Scotland) Ltd. While all these entries were outstanding, the overall winner was the team from Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd and the University of Glasgow, for their campus development work and its focus on integrating social value and community benefit into the project.

Multiplex Construction ltd and University of Glasgow winning GO Excellence Award

Multiplex Construction Ltd and University of Glasgow – celebrating in style!

After the Awards, the festivities continued with entertainment from two-time Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist Ray Bradshaw, performing simultaneously in English and British Sign Language, and the results of the Realising Dreams Foundation charity raffle, which saw the top prizes of a signed Scotland football shirt and an overnight stay at the Marriott Hotel raise hundreds of pounds for the charity, helping to support the dreams of many talented young people.

Comedian Ray Bradshaw had the audience laughing

What’s Next?

Congratulations once again to all finalists, and especially to all Award winners. Many of the fascinating stories behind some of the evening’s winning entries will be available on the GO Awards site Winners’ Journeys page soon – be sure to visit the page to learn more about their innovations, achievements and best practice examples.

All GO Awards Scotland Winners qualify for automatic finalist status at the GO Awards National, to be held on 22 April at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham. The GO Awards National bring together winners from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with new entries from across the UK. Entries will open soon – why not share your procurement success story?

Congratulations to all this year’s Award winners!

Photographs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6: www.scottishphotographer.com

New research reveals scale of public sector Brexit concerns

With the European Union having confirmed a delay to the UK’s departure from the EU, 31 October no longer marks ‘exit day.’ The so-called ‘flextension’ defers Brexit until the end of January, unless a deal is ratified before then. With the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement accepted in principle by Parliament, and an upcoming UK general election, the coming months will prove to be another crucial period in shaping precisely what form Brexit takes, and on what date the UK is no longer an EU member.

Against this backdrop, we are excited to reveal the results of our latest research survey, ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers.’ This research project surveyed procurement leaders from throughout the public sector – from local and central government and the NHS to higher education and housing associations – for their predictions, concerns and aspirations around what effects Brexit will have on UK public procurement.

Ahead of our full key findings report, to be released soon, some of the survey’s headline statistics are below:

  • 58% of respondents feel that a ‘no-deal Brexit’ will have a worse effect on their procurement strategies than Brexit under the terms of a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement – with over half of this 58% suggesting the effect will be “significantly worse.” However, 31% of respondents believe that in terms of procurement, there will be no difference between a Brexit with or without a negotiated deal.

  • 45% of organisations say they still have no defined Brexit strategy in terms of supply chain management, with 61% of all respondents not currently having a strategy for a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

  • The most significant effect of Brexit for the public sector is believed to be the ability to control costs, with 66% of participants in our survey suggesting there will be either a high or medium impact in this area.

  • 61% of respondents are concerned about post-Brexit supply chain disruption affecting the delivery and quality of services.

  • A full 40% of respondents believe that Brexit will have little or no impact on their ability to engage with suppliers based outside the UK, and only 25% of buyers say they are concerned about their ability to engage with EU-based suppliers in future.

Our full survey report, detailing further findings and respondents’ profiles, will be available soon.

Visit www.bipsolutions.com/brexit to read all the latest updates, resources and guidance for what Brexit means for procurement. As the situation develops, BiP Solutions will continue to monitor the latest intelligence to provide you with the most up-to-date knowledge and guidance on the implications of Brexit on procurement, up to and beyond ‘exit day.’

Celebrating the power of procurement at Procurex Scotland

Procurex Scotland and the Scottish Government 15th National Procurement Conference took place at the SEC, Glasgow on 29th October, welcoming around 1500 delegates from the public, private and third sectors for Scotland’s festival of procurement.

The Scottish Government National Procurement Conference

In the Scottish Government Procurement Conference, chaired by Scotland Tonight host Rona Dougall, delegates enjoyed a range of fascinating keynote talks, beginning with Kate Forbes MSP who repeatedly stressed the “power of procurement” – the power to bring about real social, economic and environmental benefits. This theme was continued by Scott Bell, Deputy Director of Procurement Development and Construction with the Scottish Government, who described several case studies of families and individuals whose lives have been changed through the power of effective procurement – for example, allowing more effective access to diabetes treatment. Paul McNeill, Head of Community Development for the Scottish Football Association, delivered a fascinating and deeply emotional talk about the importance of football to people and communities, and how procurement can help. Other keynote talks included Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, discussing some of the major challenges facing procurement and supply chain at the moment, and Kersti Berge, Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Scottish Government, detailing the scale and seriousness of the climate change crisis, and how procurement, both in Scotland and further afield, can help reduce its devasting effects.

Procurex Scotland

At Procurex Scotland, delegates were able to enjoy a range of talks from speakers across two Procurex Live stages and three specialist skills zones, including the Infrastructure Zone. As well as highly-attended sessions in the Procurement Skills Zone and the Bid Support Zone, the Social Value stage saw many delegates attending talks on topics from social value in the NHS to how to tackle modern slavery in supply chains.

The Market Support and Engagement Zone saw representatives from Tracker, Supply2Gov and PASS on hand to answer delegates’ queries about how to work more effectively with the public sector, while at the Cyber Essentials stand, attendees were invited to take the ‘Cyber Essentials Challenge’ to find out whether their cyber security is as robust as possible.

GO Awards Procurement Excellence Live Stage

Ahead of the evening’s GO Awards Scotland ceremony, GO Awards finalists were invited to the exclusive GO Awards Procurement Excellence Live Stage to hear a wealth of fascinating interviews conducted by Rona Dougall.

After Malcolm Harrison and Nikki Archer, Head of Procurement Profession for the Scottish Government, spoke about Scotland’s procurement landscape and where this year’s GO Awards Scotland entrants fit into it, Lawrence Shackman of Transport Scotland spoke about the Queensferry Crossing project, the winner of the GO Excellence Award at last year’s ceremony,. There were then five further talks from representatives of many of the innovative entries at the GO Awards Scotland this year.

A full report on Procurex Scotland will be available soon. For more information on the GO Awards Scotland, visit www.goawards.co.uk/scotland.

Procurex Wales will be taking place on 18 March, 2020 at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. For the agenda and to register your interest, visit www.procurexwales.co.uk.  

Pictures 1, 2, 3: www.scottishphotographer.com

The Queen’s Speech, October 2019

Yesterday saw the Queen’s Speech mark the opening of a new session of Parliament. While the UK’s departure from the EU, and precisely what the terms of this might be, are inevitably at the forefront of discussion, several other key points affecting various sectors were also addressed. The Government’s proposed measures surrounding criminal justice have generated the most headlines, but away from the newspapers, the proposed Serious Violence Bill would affect many areas of the public sector. The Bill would develop a local approach to tackling violent crime through sharing relevant data and information between organisations across local government, education, social services, healthcare and the criminal justice system. As ever, effective technology and data across the public sector would be central to this.

The Speech also included mention of several documents the Government aims to publish later in the year or in 2020, including the National Infrastructure Strategy and a whitepaper on devolution in England with the aim of stimulating regional growth. Here, we consider some of the other major announcements in the areas of most interest to BiP’s customers.

Healthcare

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly stressing the importance of the NHS recently, it is unsurprising that healthcare was one of the key areas addressed in the Queen’s Speech. The Speech stressed a commitment to implementing the NHS Long Term Plan, as well as revisions to the provision of social care and mental health services. Also announced was the establishment of the Health Service Safety Investigation Body, a world-first independent tasked with investigating incidents that occur during the provision of NHS services that have, or may have, implications for the safety of patients.

You can read more about the implications of the Queen’s Speech for the healthcare sector on Health Online, our dedicated healthcare community and news site.

Technology

In addition to as-yet unspecified legislation to “roll out gigabit-capable broadband across the UK” with the aim of “boosting productivity” and “driving innovation in our public services”, the Queen’s Speech stressed the Government’s commitment to “establishing the United Kingdom as a world-leader in scientific capability and space technology.” As well as to-be-confirmed plans to boost public research and development (R&D) funding – going towards a stated aim for 2.4% of GDP to be spent on R&D by 2027 – the Government has pledged the establishment of a new National Space Council and the launch of a comprehensive UK Space Strategy. Further details about the MOD’s current planned space programme have been covered by Defence Online here and here.  The Government has also stated that a new fast-track immigration scheme for world-leading scientists and researchers will help significantly enhance the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK. How this will fit alongside the Government’s wider immigration reforms and strategy will be clarified.

Environmental impact

The proposed Environment Bill would introduce “legally-binding targets” and “mandatory biodiversity protections,” which would ensure that construction projects, including new housing, is not build at the expense of biodiversity – as demonstrated by previous projects such as Highways England’s recent A66 project and the review of the deforestation that could be caused by HS2. Further measures would include looking at air and water quality, single-use plastic and effective recycling and litter reduction. These measures further demonstrate the importance of sustainable practices throughout business.