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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.

October Brexit Round-Up

Globe map of UK and western Europe

With the UK still scheduled to leave the EU on 31st October, the status of negotiations within the EU parliament will be closely watched over the coming days. Today (14th October), the Queen’s Speech to open the new session of the UK Parliament is expected to outline further the Government’s plans for Brexit and the period immediately after exit day. More than three years after the referendum, there is still much to be decided and confirmed.

Ahead of an important week, the latest updates on BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit news and resources page cover a range of aspects of Brexit and how it might affect public procurement.

  • Our September Brexit Briefing looks at sources of opportunity for procurement after Brexit – both in the UK and further afield.
  • With the possibility of further debate around the legislation aiming to block any ‘no-deal Brexit’, it remains important for businesses to be clear on what the effects of ‘no-deal’ might be and how they can prepare. Our explainer blog from Phillip Kinnell, Senior Procurement Consultant at the Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS), examines the legislation that specifically affects procurement in relation to a ‘no-deal Brexit.’ A more in-depth look at the various ways in which ‘no-deal’ might impact procurement, and how businesses can prepare, is available through the recording of our recent webinar led by Phillip, ‘What a No Deal Brexit Could Mean for Public Procurement.’
  • Also on 8th October, the House of Commons (HoC) Research Library published ‘Brexit and UK Defence: An Explainer.’ You can read Defence Online’s detailed blog on the latest updates around the UK’s and EU’s changing relationship in terms of defence here, while the HoC Library report and the Government’s own advice on the defence sector and preparing for Brexit are available in our Resources section.
  • Other sector-specific information available on our Resources page includes guidance for healthcare providers and the space sector. For the latest healthcare news, visit our dedicated healthcare community Health Online.
  • The list of trade agreements with other countries and trading blocs that will take effect when the UK leaves the EU continues to be updated.
  • Our factsheets, ‘Procurement After No Deal’ and ‘Procurement After Brexit: Deal or No Deal’, are still available, and cover the basics of the legislation and necessary preparations for organisations around Brexit. Produced in April and March respectively, these documents remain relevant as they outline key guidance such as the new UK e-notification service replacing the need to publish tenders in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU) – now named the ‘Find a Tender Service’ – and the need for businesses to acquire an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

Our Brexit resources page will continue to be updated as the situation develops, allowing you to stay abreast of all the latest and most relevant information for public procurement and business.

Brexit latest: No Deal Brexit and Procurement Legislation

With the Government maintaining that the UK with leave the EU on 31 October, whether or not a Withdrawal Agreement has been finalised, there may appear to be much uncertainty as to the position of legislation after that date, and what immediate effect that will have on trade and other areas of business. However, in procurement as well as in other areas, there are some clear guidelines as to what a ‘no deal Brexit’ would mean for day-to-day working practices. Here, Phillip Kinnell, Senior Procurement Consultant at the Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS), details what we know about procurement legislation in the event of ‘no deal’ – in our explainer below and in our recent webinar.

Legislative certainty in the event of a no deal Brexit

What procurement legislation applies in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit? Section 2(1) of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 states that ‘EU-derived domestic legislation, as it has effect in domestic law immediately before exit day, continues to have effect in domestic law on and after exit day.’ Section 3(1) similarly confirms the incorporation of direct EU legislation by stating that ‘Direct EU legislation, so far as operative immediately before exit day, forms part of domestic law on and after exit day.’ 

However, there are some incongruities between current legislation, such as the PCR 2015, and the changed environment that we will have following a no deal Brexit. To deal with this, the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 preserves laws made in the UK that implement EU obligations, and provides the legal basis for making necessary corrections to the current procurement legislation that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once the UK has left. 

The following paragraphs outline the main pieces of secondary legislation which set out the updates to UK procurement legislation.  

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Public Procurement (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and the Public Procurement (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) (No 2) Regulations 2019 set out the majority of changes to current procurement legislation in the event of a hard Brexit. 

In Scotland, the Public Procurement etc (Scotland) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, the Public Procurement etc (Scotland) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Amendment Regulations 2019 and the Public Procurement etc. (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 carry out a very similar role.  

The required changes include the removal of references to the EU, the replacement of the OJEU with the ‘UK e-notification service’ (also known as the Find a Tender Service or FTS) and the right of the UK to set the procurement thresholds for the forthcoming change on 1 January 2020. 

Eight months after Brexit, the amendment regulations also remove conditions relating to the GPA (Government Procurement Agreement) and the ‘duty owed to economic operators from other member states’ as from that point the requirement to open up procurement in the UK to economic operators from other states will either not apply or will have be applied separately through a trade or other similar agreement. 

The Defence Regulations will be updated with the Defence and Security Public Contracts (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 which will bring in both pre-exit and exit-related amendments to the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011. So while it’s not possible, or advisable, to cover all the changes here, I hope that the above links will help you determine how a no deal Brexit will affect any procurements that are commenced after a no deal Brexit. 

You can here Phillip discuss this and other aspects of post-Brexit procurement in more detail through a recording of our recent webinar, ‘What a No Deal Brexit would Mean for Public Sector Procurement.’ To view the full video, click here.

GO Awards Scotland 2019/20 Finalists Announced

GO Awards Scotland logo

The finalists for the GO Awards Scotland have been announced.

Celebrating the best in all aspects of public procurement from across the public, private and third sectors in Scotland, the GO Awards Scotland presentation ceremony will take place at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow in Birmingham on 29th October. The standard of entries this year was very high, so we would like to extend our congratulations to all nominees, and thank everyone who entered.

All entries will be reviewed by our judging panel comprised of experts from across Scottish procurement. You can learn more about the judges here.

The full list of finalists is as follows:

Social Value Award

sponsored by Remploy Scotland

  • Balfour Beatty
  • City of Edinburgh Council & Wildact Solutions
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council, Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus, Dumfries and Galloway Multicultural Association, DGVoice, LGBT Youth Scotland & Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway
  • Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd & University of Glasgow
  • National Services Scotland, for entry: Product Donation – Northern Iraq
  • National Services Scotland, for entry: National Catheter Passport
  • Nurse Directorate for NHS Scotland, Scottish Government Workforce Directorate, National Services Scotland, National Procurement, Dimensions Clothing, Haven PTS, Developing the Young Workforce, National Education Scotland (NES), NHS Scotland Health Boards
  • Perth and Kinross Council & Balfour Beatty
  • Scotland Excel & Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company
  • Scottish Procurement Alliance, Lintel Trust, Hawthorn Housing Co-Operative, Linstone Housing Association, Perth and Kinross Council, South Ayrshire Council,Wheatley Group, River Clyde Homes, Cairn Housing Association, Clyde Valley Housing Association, Paisley Housing Association, South Lanarkshire Council, Dundee City Council, Angus Council & Barrhead Housing Association
  • South Ayrshire Council
  • University of Strathclyde

Best Service Award – Micro and Small Businesses and Third Sector Organisations

sponsored by Scotland Excel

  • Carnegie Clinical Research Ltd
  • Cenefits & City of Edinburgh Council
  • Child Bereavement UK
  • Health by Science
  • H&W Forestry Services
  • Scotia Books Ltd

Best Service Award – Medium and Large Organisations

sponsored by Lyreco

  • ACL Hire
  • APS Group (Scotland) Limited
  • Hadden Group, Perth and Kinross Council at Scott Street & Perth College UHI
  • McConechy’s Tyre Services Ltd
  • Pertemps
  • Retinue Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Forth Valley & NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Best Environmental Impact Award

  • South Ayrshire Council
  • Scottish Government & Scottish Futures Trust
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Stirling Council, Scottish Water, Horizons & Scottish Government Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP)

Infrastructure or Capital Project of the Year

sponsored by Zscaler

  • NHS Orkney
  • Perth and Kinross Council & Balfour Beatty
  • Transport Scotland
  • University of Edinburgh

Market Development Award

sponsored by APS Group

  • City of Edinburgh Council
  • Kibble Education and Care Centre working in partnership with the Scottish Government, Strathclyde University, The Fostering Network, Who Cares? Scotland & CELCIS
  • NHS National Services Scotland, National Procurement
  • South Ayrshire Council

Procurement Project of the Year (sub-£20m value)

sponsored by Scottish Procurement Alliance (part of the LHC Group)

  • NSS National Procurement Equipping Sourcing Team, working with NSS Health Facilities Scotland Equipping Team
  • Police Scotland, for entry: Provision of a National Network for Police Scotland
  • Police Scotland, for entry: The Supply and Delivery of Body Armour, Ancillary Items and Services
  • South Ayrshire Council
  • Stirling Council

Procurement Project of the Year (above £20m value)

sponsored by ACL Hire Ltd.

  • Department for International Development
  • National Services Scotland
  • Police Scotland

Supplier Relationship Management Award

sponsored by SOTI

  • APUC Ltd
  • City of Glasgow College
  • EDF Energy & Scottish Procurement

Team of the Year

sponsored by Softcat

  • Supplier Development Programme
  • Scottish Borders Council
  • City of Glasgow College
  • Scotland Excel, Scottish Government & Hey Girls
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Scottish Government
  • University of Edinburgh
  • City of Edinburgh Council
  • University of Strathclyde

GO Excellence Award

sponsored by Badenoch & Clark

Finalists will be announced on the evening of the Awards from winners of the other categories.

GO Awards Scotland lead judge Grahame Steed said of the finalists:

I’m delighted to see such a strong array of finalists in this year’s GO Awards Scotland. Each has made it through the first phase of judging and deserve recognition for their achievement. Once again, we have a diverse range of finalists from across the entire nation, demonstrating how vibrant and progressive public sector procurement is in Scotland.

To learn more about the GO Awards Scotland and secure your place at the presentation ceremony, click here.

BiP Knowledge Transfer Partnership examines search engine technology

BiP Solutions and The University of Strathclyde are currently undertaking a 2½ year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), part-funded by Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency.

The KTP project team is led by Dr. Stuart Mackie, who completed his Ph.D. in Computing Science at the University of Glasgow (2018), specialising in information retrieval, natural language processing, machine learning, and data science.  Here Dr. Mackie explains what the aims of the KTP are, and discusses his recent presentation of a paper on behalf of the KTP at the world’s leading conference on search engine technology.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership

BiP Solutions has partnered with the University of Strathclyde to access academic expertise in the areas of Information Retrieval, Machine Learning, and Data Science.  The aim of the KTP project is to embed key technical expertise within BiP Solutions in order to enable the development of the next generation of business intelligence products and services.  Specifically, the goal of the KTP project is to improve the relevance of search results of the procurement contracts search engine within BiP Solutions’ business intelligence solution, Tracker.  Further, the KTP project also aims to support data-driven decision making via promoting a culture of experimentation, evaluation and analysis.

The KTP project team is working to capture and leverage search user interaction data and deploy state-of-the-art machine learning technologies into BiP’s search engine products – to improve the relevance of search results for BiP customers. The KTP project team is also working to implement a redesigned search user experience, to deploy an online A/B testing infrastructure, and to develop evaluation metrics and an analytics dashboard for the Tracker product.

The KTP project builds on the work from a successful DataLab-funded project – focusing on search relevance engineering – where we built a domain-specific dataset (i.e., test collection) for evaluating Tracker’s procurement contracts search engine, and implemented a Lucene-based search engine evaluation framework for conducting a thorough evaluation of different search algorithms.

ACM SIGIR Conference

Recently, we participated in the ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval.  The SIGIR conference is the premier venue for the publication and dissemination of research relating to search engine technologies.  We presented a paper in the SIGIR 2019 Symposium on IR in Practice (Industry Track), along with presentations from Amazon Alexa, Netflix, Comcast Applied AI Research Lab, Facebook, University of Sheffield, Ancestry.com and Thomson Reuters, amongst others. You can read and download our paper here.

For businesses wishing to tender for competitive opportunities, finding relevant procurement contract notices presents a challenging professional search task.  This search task involves business users searching for economic opportunities, with high value associated with the outcomes.  Our paper outlined the “Challenges in Procurement Search”:

  • Query specification – search queries are user-curated complex Boolean expressions, often many hundreds of terms in length. How can we best capture user information needs?
  • Commercial Relevance – a contract matching a customer’s query terms may not be commercially relevant due to many business factors. How can we shape the relevance function to reflect this?
  • Temporal Relevance – businesses need to find contracts as soon as they are published, to maximise bid preparation time. How can we ensure customers receive relevant contracts as soon as they are available?
  • Data Sparseness – with lower click volumes observed compared to commercial web search engines, how can we bootstrap supervised machine learned models with less user interaction data?
  • Bias & Regulation – public procurement is a highly legislated area. How can we ensure that machine learned models and recommender systems are fair and unbiased?

The challenges we highlighted in this paper will be addressed throughout the KTP project as it continues.

 You can learn more about BiP’s range of digital business intelligence solutions here.

New report: Social value, supply chain ethics and procurement legislation

BiP Solutions is pleased to launch our latest market report, ‘Is Procurement Good Business? Social value, supply chain management, legislation and innovation in the current procurement landscape.’

This report examines three of the most pressing themes in contemporary procurement: social value, ethical supply chains, and the relationship between legislation and innovation. Aside from specific political events, these three themes are perhaps the major issues that have the potential to reshape how procurement is practised across the UK in the near future.

Following Procurex National 2019, the flagship event in the UK public procurement calendar, hosted by BiP Solutions, this report includes expert analysis and comment from procurement leaders from the day. The clear message from both attendees and the expert speakers at Procurex National is that legislation, like social value and ensuring an ethical supply chain, can prove to be a source of opportunity to procurement. Rather than stopping competition or innovation, or enforcing arbitrary boundaries, all three key themes can in fact make for better business.

  • Social value is not only a legal requirement, but is also increasingly weighed into procurement requirements in many different sectors. We discuss how organisations can shape their own ‘social value’ position.
  • Supply chain ethics are important in an ever-more transparent age. Learn how buyers can make sure ethical business is factored into every stage of the supply chain.
  • Legislation and innovation can seem like they are at odds in procurement, but we look at how procurement legislation can work to spur innovation and improve efficiency.

The report includes comment from figures including Malcolm Harrison, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply; Simon Tse, CEO of the Crown Commercial Service; and Mark Roberts, Continuous Commercial Improvement Director at the Cabinet Office. The report also describes key ways in which BiP Solutions can help you get ahead in procurement by supporting you to stand out in terms of social value, ensuring a robust and ethical supply chain, and working in the best way within the legislation.

Download your full copy of the report here to find out how to maximise your opportunities by keeping abreast of the latest burning issues in procurement.

Transforming healthcare procurement at P4H England

The UK’s premier healthcare procurement event, P4H England, returned to the NEC, Birmingham on 4 July 2019. The event welcomed over 1500 delegates from the NHS, the wider healthcare sector and the private sector supply chain, with a packed schedule including keynote talks, training and knowledge exchange sessions, and many opportunities for buyers and suppliers to meet and discuss their needs.

Many of the day’s sessions had standing room only, demonstrating both the quality of the talks on offer and the enthusiasm of the P4H audience.

You can see some of the day’s highlights here, and read more below:

Keynote Arena

The Keynote Arena witnessed a plethora of talks from procurement leaders from throughout the healthcare sector, as well as a motivational lecture from world-famous explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Chair Glen Hodgson kicked off the day by suggesting that “our job today is to avoid the noise and think strategically – focusing on the great work done by colleagues to make the NHS safe.” Stephen Foulser, Customer Engagement Director at NHS Supply Chain, delivered the first talk of the day, reflecting on a year of the new NHS Supply Chain Operating Model. Next up, Michael Pace, Managing Director of Corporate Services at the NHS London Procurement Partnership, stressed the importance of collaborative work to efficient procurement. Mr Pace said that despite the huge changes that have come to bear on NHS procurement over the last 12 months, and what he understands as areas where improvements still need to be made, there was much to be positive about.

“I’m more excited by the opportunities in front of me than I ever have been as an NHS procurement professional before.” – Michael Pace, Managing Director, Corporate Services, NHS London Procurement Partnership

Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ lecture proved to be the day’s main draw for many attendees, with delegates queueing several rows back from the Keynote Arena to hear about the explorer’s experiences over more than 50 years across Oman, the River Nile, Vancouver, Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. Sir Ranulph emphasised the importance of teamwork, framing all his expeditions as the achievements of a dedicated team. Aside from the focus on collaboration, the relevance of Sir Ranulph’s talk to a healthcare audience was made obvious through his sharing of several graphic photos detailing the after-effects of severe frostbite!

ranulph-fiennes-p4h-england

Sir Ranulph Fiennes delivers his keynote lecture

The afternoon at the Keynote Arena was equally busy, with talks including Pia Larsen, Director of Procurement and Supply Chain at University College London NHS Foundation Trust, delivering a detailed case study of what transforming procurement at a particular trust looks like. The theme of asking what ‘collaboration’ looks like, and how it can change NHS procurement, continued with two talks about the experience in different parts of Greater Manchester, from Neil Hind, Procurement Lead at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, and Joe Lever, Group Procurement Director at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group. The final keynote talk of the day saw Tom Wynne, Head of Procurement for London at NHS Improvement, talking about the forthcoming Procurement Target Operating Model, allowing delegates to see some of the ways in which NHS procurement is set to be reshaped in the coming months and years.

Market Support and Engagement Zone

The Market Support and Engagement Zone at P4H England 2019 allowed suppliers to understand how they could best engage earlier with buyers across the NHS and beyond. Teams representing Tracker, Supply2Gov, Cyber Essentials and Market Engagement heard first-hand about some of the challenges faced by the private sector and were able to offer expert advice on how to leverage best-in-class tools to improve tender win rates and identify strategic business opportunities. Delegates were also able to visit the on-stand juice blend bar, which proved unsurprisingly popular on a very warm day!

“We’d like to say a massive thank-you to Tru Foo, our juice suppliers, for keeping us and the delegates refreshed throughout the day. We had some really insightful conversations with suppliers looking to increase their visibility in the public sector market, and we hope that each of them left the stand with actionable information that helps them grow their business in this market.” – Susan Staley, Head of Digital Marketing, BiP Solutions

BiP Solutions customers were also offered exclusive access to the VIP lounge, providing a quiet space throughout the day to catch up with colleagues and emails, enjoy refreshments and attend several VIP-only talks.

Health Online

As the official media partner of P4H, Health Online was proud to be represented at the event. Interest in Health Online’s dedicated online healthcare community proved high, with a talk from Health Online Sales Manager Soafyaan Zia seeing delegates literally queueing out of the door to attend! You can learn more via Health Online’s own P4H review.

Soafyaan Zia delivering a talk on Health Online at P4H England

Soafyaan Zia’s talk introduced delegates to Health Online

What’s next?

Scotland’s and Wales’ procurement communities will come together later this year at Procurex Scotland on 29 October in Glasgow and Procurex Wales on 7 November in Cardiff. Register today or learn more about sponsorship opportunities here.

There’s also still time to enter your procurement team or project for the prestigious GO Awards, with presentation ceremonies taking place on the evenings of Procurex Scotland and Procurex Wales. Share your procurement success stories here!

BiP Solutions launches new report examining the key themes to emerge in defence

BiP Solutions launches new report examining the key themes to emerge in defence procurement

Today, BiP Solutions is pleased to launch Procurement in Defence: Key Themes and Trends 2019.  The market report examines defence opportunities, the MOD’s efforts to improve industrial engagement, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)’s commercial transformation and the drive for innovation across the sector. The report follows on the heels of Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2019, which took place at the end of March.

The event, held across a single day, drew a record attendance as over 1500 visitors made their way to Farnborough to engage within a marketplace valued at over £20 billion annually.

From DPRTE 2019, it was clear that the opportunities available in the defence marketplace are significant and that improving engagement with the supply chain and the drive for innovation would continue to be key themes for the defence industry.

This report considers defence opportunities, examines the key themes to emerge from the event and features insights from Jim Carter, Commercial Director, Supply Chain, MOD; Jacqui Rock, Commercial Director, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Dr Lucy Mason, Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).

Mr Carter said of the MOD’s plans to improve supplier engagement:

The MOD is the largest procurement organisation in central government. We manage some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world.

One of our key messages is that we are going to need a deeper collaboration with our supply chain and be ever more demanding.

The report also provides the opportunity to read an in-depth review of DPRTE 2019 including a look at highlights from the Keynote Arena, the five Knowledge Transfer Zones and seven Networking & Collaboration Zones.

To read the report in full, please access your personal copy here.

To find out more about our solutions, please visit: www.bipsolutions.com

Building connections at the UK Infrastructure Show

Bigger and better than ever before, on 30th April the UK Infrastructure Show was back at the NEC, Birmingham for its third year.

The UK’s leading infrastructure and supply chain event was once again a roaring success, connecting buyers and suppliers on the main stage of the sector.

This year, the event combined with the UK Public Sector Expo and Procurex National, with UKIS2019 seeing 1,400 delegates enjoying over 30 free training sessions, five speakers in the Keynote Arena, six Public Sector Solutions Live speakers, four Networking & Collaboration Zones, a Product Showcase Exhibition and the wealth of knowledge demonstrated in the four skills development zones throughout the event.

With over £600bn and 700 projects on the National Infrastructure Pipeline, the show had a huge range of information and opportunities on offer from some of the biggest names and projects within the infrastructure arena.

Infrastructure has been one of the better performers for the construction industry throughout this unsettled political and economic period, as reflected in the attendance numbers and buoyancy amongst the infrastructure community.

The Keynote stage

The Keynote stage, hosting some of the major players in the infrastructure sector, was the focus of the event. A very popular area of the show, at times it was standing room only as people jostled to hear the latest from the National Infrastructure Commission, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, HS2, the Department for Transport and Scape Procure.

Chaired by Stephen Kinnell of supply chain specialists CompeteFor, key themes coming through the informative keynote speeches were the need for collaboration, innovation and a long-term joined-up approach.

First up, Phil Graham, Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, addressed the audience. He discussed how important infrastructure is to the country, as a key driver of the economy and improver of change.

Phil Graham from National Infrastructure Commission

Matthew Vickerstaff, Interim Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, followed, discussing how delivery of the National Infrastructure Pipeline will be achieved, looking at strategic investment, infrastructure priorities, and the challenges in improving infrastructure performance.

An informative session from Mark Howard, HS2 Chief Engineer, was up next. As Europe’s biggest infrastructure project currently underway, HS2 is a flagship for the infrastructure sector. Mr Howard told the packed room, that up to this point, the amount of track already built equals half the length of the UK – giving us some idea of the huge undertaking this project is.

Once again, the theme of collaboration and a joined up approach was key, with the support of organisations such as the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse crucial to successful delivery.

The next session was held by Catherine de Marco, Deputy Director Infrastructure, Skills and Efficiency at Department for Transport. Ms de Marco focused on the issues of skilled labour and the requirement for new, technology-minded individuals to be enticed into the construction, transport and infrastructure sectors.

Last to the podium was Adrian Hill, Acting Director of Frameworks at Scape Procure. An appropriate close to the arena, the essence of Scape Procure and Mr Hill’s address was to remind the audience that with all infrastructure projects, we are not just investing in the projects, but communities.

Attendees heard again, how collaboration, fair payment, continual improvement and adoption of new technologies and innovations was vital for the sector to ensure economic benefits from the investments.

Subsector zones

The excitement didn’t end with the keynote arena – the floor was host to many exhibitors, showcasing new trends, technologies and innovations to a captive audience.

Two zones, specifically designed to highlight the growing subsectors within infrastructure, were also available to delegates.

In Zone 1, The Energy and Social Infrastructure zone, attendees heard from a range of specialists and suppliers working in the sector.

Over in Zone 2, Transport, sessions from some of the leading figures in infrastructure development in the West Midlands spoke to a lively audience.

Next steps

We would like to thank all delegates, visitors, partners, sponsors and exhibitors at UKIS for helping to make such a successful show and representing an industry with huge potential for growth and development.

To register your interest or to discuss booking your 2020 exhibition or sponsorship package, click here.

 

“One of the greatest showcases for innovation”: Procurex National 2019

The UK’s premier public procurement showcase, Procurex National 2019, took place at the NEC, Birmingham on 30 April, welcoming over 1400 delegates from both the public and private sectors. Across the four Skills Development Zones and the Public Sector Solutions Live Stage, attendees were able to enjoy a wealth of training sessions, talks by subject matter experts from all areas of the procurement landscape, and product showcases.

You can see some of the highlights from the day below.

Public Sector Solutions Live

The Public Sector Solutions Live Stage saw keynote talks from six leading experts in procurement representing the public, private and third sectors. The first speaker, Malcolm Harrison, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), stressed the need for social value at every stage of the supply chain. Mr Harrison warned against the misconception that social value is only important in local government procurement, as it is now equally important to central government in many countries across the world and in the private sector too.

You can still deliver value for money while embracing social value and the local economy agenda” – Malcolm Harrison, CEO, CIPS

The theme of social value continued in keynote talks from Mark Roberts and Claire Smart. Mr Roberts, Continuous Commercial Improvement Director at the Cabinet Office, emphasised: “A number of organisations – not just in the public sector – are stressing the need for social value. This is something we need to learn about from a variety of stakeholders.” Ms Smart, Procurement Director for the National Trust, spoke about the lessons that the charity sector and the public sector can learn from each other in procurement. Ms Smart highlighted that while many working in public procurement may find legislation such as OJEU restrictive, the absence of such rules for the charity sector can prove difficult: “Rules can distract, but they also professionalise.”

Talks from David Brown, Project Director of Online Marketplace for Dubai Expo 2020, and Adam Stewart, Regional Manager, UK Public Sector for Google Cloud, gave delegates the chance to learn more about these two innovative digital services.

The final keynote talk of the day was delivered by Simon Tse, Chief Executive of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS). Mr Tse began his talk by saying: “Procurex continues to be one of the greatest showcases for the innovation that drives public service. It offers tremendous opportunities for us all to collaborate.”

Mr Tse’s wide-ranging talk addressed areas such as the strategic goals of CCS, the balance between social value and financial savings, and the differing challenges faced by larger organisations and SMEs.

Market Support and Engagement Zone

This year at Procurex National’s Market Support and Engagement Zone delegates were given their very own ‘Passport to Early Engagement’ – as well as a complimentary BiP-branded flight pillow.

The teams on stand (Supply2Gov, Cyber Essentials, Tracker Intelligence, and Media & Marketing Solutions) were there to direct public procurement professionals to the solutions that can help their organisations to fly high.

‘Flyers’ were also given the chance to mix business and pleasure as the stand hosted a ‘paper planes’ UX competition, with the winner grabbing an experience day prize.

GO Excellence in Public Sector Procurement Live Stage

The afternoon saw several of the finalists for the evening’s UK National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2019/20 interviewed ahead of the evening’s gala Awards presentation. Representatives of finalist organisations including Scan4Safety, the Bank of England, iHELP and the Department for International Development described what prompted their procurement exercises, some of the unique challenges they faced, and their excitement about the possibility of winning an award.

David Smith, chair of the GO Awards judging panel, told the gathered nominees that “procurement people are probably the most important in any organisation.” After the interviews, every finalist was presented with a certificate announcing their nomination.

What’s next?

PH4 England is happening on 4 July 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham.

Register interest or contact us today to discuss booking your 2019 exhibition or sponsorship package asap.