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!


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.

UK National GO Awards 2019/20

Celebrating the best in public procurement from across the UK, this year’s National GO Awards took place on 30th April at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham.  The event brought together winners from the GO Awards Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the last 12 months with new entrants for a night of festivities and sharing of best practice, leadership and innovation.

The glittering black-tie event was hosted by TV presenter Sarah Heaney, and gave finalists to share their success stories and have their achievements recognised.

The event also saw an official opening address from Simon Tse, the Chief Executive of the Crown Commercial Service, who stressed the need to celebrate the sometimes under-appreciated wider importance of procurement in the UK.

This year there were 16 categories, plus the GO Excellence Award, with many categories from previous years split to recognise different types of organisation. This testifies to both the quantity and quality of entries. The judging panel, made up of experts in the field of procurement, stressed that this year’s batch of entries was among the strongest ever, with chair of the judging panel David Smith commenting that:

I believe the standard of the awards has improved greatly over the years. The winners in the categories this year are as good if not better than any other year.

See some of the highlights of the evening here:

GO Awards presentation

Although many of the evening’s winners and highly commended entrants represented previously recognised entries from the GO Awards Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there were also many winners from among the new entrants. A full list of winners and highly commended entrants is below – congratulations to them all!

GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award – Local Authority, Consortia and Housing

Winner: Liverpool City Council
Highly Commended: Tai Tarian

Liverpool Council – clearly pleased to have won!

GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award – Other Organisations

Winner: Department for Infrastructure, Graham Farrans Joint Venture & AECOM
Highly Commended: Scottish Government – SG Procurement, Contract Management and Capability Team

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

Winner: Ingenica Solutions & Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
Highly Commended: AdviseInc Ltd.

GO Best Service Award – Medium & Large Organisations

Winner: Warmworks Scotland
Highly Commended: Hays & Birmingham City Council

GO Procurement Innovation of the Year Award – Taking the procurement function forward – Health and Social Care

Winner: Scan4Safety & the Department of Health and Social Care
Highly Commended: Angus Council / Angus Health and Social Care Partnership
Highly Commended: Leicestershire County Council

GO Procurement Innovation of the Year Award – Taking the procurement function forward – Health and Social Care (NHS Organisations)

Winner: University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust & Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
Highly Commended: NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit & NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group
Highly Commended: NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support & NHS England

GO Procurement Innovation of the Year Award – Taking the procurement function forward – Local Government, Central Government and Other Organisations

Winner: Kent Police & Essex Police
Highly Commended: Kirklees Council

GO Infrastructure Project of the Year

Winner: Transport Scotland – Forth Replacement Crossing

GO Procurement Leadership of the Year Award – Local Government & Other Organisations

Winner: North Yorkshire County Council
Highly Commended: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

GO Procurement Leadership of the Year Award – Central Government & Healthcare Organisations

Winner: Bank of England
Highly Commended: Office of National Statistics

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

Winner: Renfrewshire Council
Highly Commended: Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, North West Shared Infrastructure Service and others

GO Procurement Project of the year award (above £20m value) – Local Government and Consortia

Winner: North Lincolnshire Council
Highly Commended: NEPO

GO Procurement Project of the year award (above £20m value) – Other Organisations

Winner: Translink
Highly Commended: Department for International Development
Highly Commended: North of England Commissioning Support Unit & NHS England (Specialised Commissioning, North Region)

GO Emerging Procurement Talent Award

Joint Winner: Leidos Supply Limited
Joint Winner: Cardiff Council

GO Procurement Team of the Year Award – Health and Social Care Organisations

Winner: NHS Scotland National Procurement Equipping Sourcing Team, working with NSS Health Facilities Scotland Equipping Team
Highly Commended: Procurement and Logistics Service (a subsidiary of the Business Services Organisation) partnering with all Health and Social Care Trusts & the Department of Health

GO Procurement Team of the Year Award – Local Government, Central Government and Other Organisations

Winner: Kirklees Council
Highly Commended: Network Homes
Highly Commended: North Yorkshire County Council

GO Excellence Award

Unlike other awards, the GO Excellence award cannot be entered. Instead, the nominations for this award were revealed on the evening of the ceremony, comprising a list of five of the overall strongest entries from across this year’s winning entrants, as decided by the expert judging panel.

The GO Excellence Award this year went to the team from Scan4Safety & the Department for Health and Social Care. The judging panel described this entry as

a major league project for a major league organisation – delivering significant benefits in a host of areas: efficiency, safety and cost management to name just three. A project that has required huge effort to coordinate, with an impressive list of benefits achieved and evidence of sharing of best practice.

Congratulations to the Scan4Safety team!

The GO Awards – next steps

While this year’s National GO Awards presentation may be over, check the GO Awards website over the coming weeks to learn more about the fascinating and inspiring stories behind some of the winning and highly commended entries.

In addition, the GO Awards Scotland 2019/20 will take place on 29th October with the GO Awards Wales following on 7th November. The entry process will begin soon – so why not share your procurement success story?

GO Awards Northern Ireland 2019/20

Northern Irish finalists took to the stage at the prestigious GO Awards Northern Ireland 2019/20 event at the Titanic Hotel Belfast on 13 March 2019, to celebrate the people behind the country’s procurement success.

Many success stories were shared on the day by the host, BBC journalist Holly Hamilton, as she guided guests through the afternoon of presentations.

Leadership Merit Award

Holly kicked off the event by announcing a surprise Merit award for Leadership, which Gus MacKenzie from Procurex Ireland presented to NI Water.

The NI Water team was recognised for their work on “The Commercial Excellence Portfolio” – one of the six business change portfolios created by NI Water – which has been established to deliver £17m annual opex and £17m annual capex efficiencies by the end of March 2021.

A huge amount of work is going into this initiative and the GO Awards judges believed that the event was the perfect platform to recognise NI Water for their efforts.

GO Awards Presentation

This year, the judging panel selected winners and highly commended entrants from organisations across Northern Ireland.

Those recognised have gone above and beyond normal standards in public procurement to make real differences to the quality of public services in Northern Ireland.

The full list of winners can be seen below:

GO Procurement Project of the Year

Winner: Translink Fleet Procurement

GO Innovation / Initiative of the Year

Highly Commended: Barclay Communications

Winner: Construction and Procurement Delivery (Supplies & Services Division)

GO Procurement Team of the Year

Highly Commended: Construction & Procurement Delivery (CPD) – Procurement Operations Branch

Winner: Procurement & Logistics Service (a subsidiary of the Business Services Organisation) partnering with all Health and Social Care Trusts and the Department of Health

GO Buy Social/Sustainable Procurement – Construction

Highly Commended: Kevin Watson Group (KWG)

Winner: Department for Infrastructure, Graham Farrans Joint Venture, AECOM.

GO Buy Social/Sustainable Procurement – Services

Highly Commended: Countryside Services Ltd

Winner: Translink and Sword Security

GO Excellence Award

The GO Awards Northern Ireland Excellence Award is unlike all other categories, as it cannot be entered. This category recognises the very best overall submission drawn from each of the winners in this year’s Awards and the winner is chosen by the judges.

Taking home the unique GO Excellence Award was the Procurement & Logistics Service (a subsidiary of the Business Services Organisation) partnering with all Health and Social Care Trusts and the Department of Health. When presenting the Award. Holly noted that:

“the winner of the GO Awards Northern Ireland Excellence Award demonstrated an outstanding example of effective, collaborative and high-quality procurement and is well deserving of this prestigious recognition. We believe this submission, like our other winners this afternoon, will stand every chance of further success at the UK National GO Awards in April.”


You can watch our video detailing the highlights of the event here:

National GO Awards

Entry is now closed for this year’s UK National GO Awards; however, all regional GO Awards winners are fast-tracked as finalists into the UK National GO Awards 2019/20, which will take place on 30 April 2019 at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham.

To find out more visit the UK National GO Awards website.

Our thanks again to our headline sponsor Lyreco, and our category sponsors Buy Social and Farrans.


DPRTE 2019 champions innovation by bringing the defence community together

MOD at dprte

On Thursday 28 March the UK’s leading defence procurement and supply chain event, DPRTE, which is supported by the Ministry of Defence, took place at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The 2019 event reflected the diversity and profile of the defence supply chain and the UK’s position as a leader within this sector.

The event has received excellent feedback from delegates, presenters and exhibitors alike, and we are pleased to announce that DPRTE will be back in April 2020.

Learn more about the day below!


Driving defence innovation forward

Simon Burges, Chief Executive Officer at BiP Solutions, was delighted with the attendance at this year’s event as DPRTE welcomed over 1500 key decision makers from across the defence procurement and supply chain marketplace. Post-event, Mr Burges said:

“DPRTE plays a vital role in supporting collaboration and innovation across a hugely diverse set of requirements, within areas such as technology, equipment, support and infrastructure.”

The event’s Keynote Arena welcomed an impressive line-up, with speakers from several defence organisations:

  • Jim Carter – Commercial Director, Supply Chain, MOD
  • Dr Lucy Mason – Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)
  • Jacqui Rock – Commercial Director, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)
  • Tracy Buckingham – Head of Operations and Security Exports, DIT DSO

After a packed-out morning in the Keynote Arena, industry thought leaders were also joined by Jason Fox from Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Jason gave an inspiring talk about his own military experience, and before arriving at his Keynote session he visited the Defence Engagement Hub to take part in BiP’s VR Challenge… unluckily for him, he was not our tournament winner!

jason fox

Supporting the defence supply chain

The defence supply chain is a vital and growing part of the UK economy. It directly and indirectly supports thousands of skilled jobs across the entire country, creating income that in turn underpins the delivery of a wide range of public services.

Mr Carter spoke about ‘Improving MOD’s Industrial Engagement’ during his session in the Keynote Arena, and give an overview of the MOD’s journey towards Strategic Partnerships. He also discussed how the organisation wants to make it easier for suppliers to do business with defence.

During his Keynote session he said:

“Harnessing the innovation of SMEs is absolutely critical. To have the best military capability we need that diversity of input. Innovation is really high on our customer’s agenda and we need to find a way as a commercial organisation to engage with a wide range of SMEs and bring them into our supply chain.”

Over the next decade the MOD is committed to spending over £178bn on equipment and support.

Networking and development

This year DPRTE hosted five unique Knowledge Transfer Zones, each designed to increase the knowledge and skills of both buyers and suppliers at the event. Spread across the conference hall were the following zones:

  • Technology & Innovation
  • Supply Chain & Partnering
  • Buyer Excellence in Procurement
  • Export & Business Growth
  • Doing Business with the US DoD

Speaking in the Supply Chain & Partnering Zone about the Crown Commercial Service’s collaboration with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation was David Wharton, Head of Account Management at CCS.

David said that his session gave him the opportunity to gain feedback from clients and gave them the opportunity to put their questions to him directly. Speaking to the DPRTE content team, he said:

“It is often very difficult to have all of your suppliers in the one place but here at DPRTE you get to hear of innovations that you wouldn’t normally hear of at a normal market engagement event.

“It is also really useful that the defence supply and buying communities have pulled together to help each other understand more about requirements on both sides of the fence.” 

Early engagement opportunities

DPRTE aims to bring the defence buyer and supplier communities together, and this year it was achieved on an international level!

Hundreds of suppliers had the opportunity to meet with buyers from each of the UK’s frontline commands as well as members of the US and Australian defence departments – making the event one of the best yet for defence networking opportunities.

DPRTE does not only benefit suppliers that are looking for opportunities in the defence sector, but is also vital to organisations like the UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) that are always looking for innovative ideas and suppliers to work with.

Dr Lucy Mason, Head of DASA, spoke to the DPRTE content team after delivering her keynote session about her experience at the event. She noted:

“We are really keen to be here at DPRTE; these kinds of event are crucial to allow government and industry to cooperate and work together, get together and network – which is always really valuable!”

Dr Mason has plans for continued growth in DASA and says that the organisation is looking for businesses in the defence marketplace that need support with innovation. She encourages these businesses to reach out to DASA.

Join us at DPRTE 2020

The main focus of the DPRTE event is to showcase research and technological developments that can be used to benefit society.

Grahame Steed, Director of Business Intelligence & e-Sourcing at BiP Solutions, is excited about the future of DPRTE. He said:

“At a time of increased and emerging threats to the UK, the defence supply chain helps to protect our interests at home and abroad – in addition to driving valuable research and innovation in areas such as cyber security, biometrics and life sciences.”

If you would like to join us at DPRTE 2020, the event will take place on 1 April at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Your business can also invest in the development of new and existing business opportunities by participating in this important event. Contact us today to discuss booking your 2020 exhibition or sponsorship package – call 0845 270 7066 or email exhibitions@dprte.co.uk.

Thank you to our DPRTE 2019 sponsors: RPAS Service, Commerce Decisions, Dell Technologies, NetApp, Farnborough International Airshow, CDS Defence Support, CAPTEC, Miele, KME and Scotwork.

Collaboration is key – the main message from P4H Scotland 2019

P4H Scotland 2019 brought together over 700 key decision makers from across Scotland’s NHS procurement marketplace to Edinburgh in March.

The event, which was officially supported by NHS National Services Scotland (NHS NSS), championed collaboration between buyers and suppliers and encouraged conversations on how teams can work together to collectively achieve more for patients.

Feedback from stakeholders and delegates who attended this event has been excellent as many of the sessions provided were incredibly well received. We now look forward to our English P4H event in July!

Did you miss P4H Scotland 2019? Learn more about this event and NHS NSS plans below.

NHS National Procurement

P4H Scotland’s official partner NHS National Procurement is Scotland’s largest procurement body, buying and supplying the myriad items that keep Scotland’s hospitals running.

The organisation works across the healthcare sector, reaching out to partners that have shared innovative ideas which can help the NHS to grow and drive forward added value and benefits for service users.

Martin Street, Strategic Sourcing Director at NHS National Procurement joined suppliers and many other NHS employees at the P4H event. Mr Street has been working hard during his time at National Procurement to support the needs of patient care by thinking more innovatively, sustainably and compassionately.

Events like P4H Scotland can support this by bringing the buyer and supplier communities together. When asked by the P4H content team why it was important for his organisation to attend events like P4H, Mr Street said:

“Having senior presence from NHS Scotland National Procurement really shows that we understand value and want to invest time with our suppliers to take things forward”.

Procurement plays a big part in supporting the quality of a patient’s experience of care and the discussions which took place at the event indicate there is considerable opportunity out there for suppliers and industry innovators.

“Supporting Scotland’s health and care priorities”

Alongside the Product Showcase Exhibition, a wealth of knowledge was demonstrated in the three training zones at the event, where 20 training sessions took place, covering everything from cyber security to bid writing.

At the heart of the event was the Keynote Arena, where Colin Sinclair, Chief Executive at NHS NSS, was the first of six keynote speakers. He gave delegates an overview of the NSS operating landscape and set out NHS Scotland’s immediate priorities:

  • mental health
  • waiting times
  • health and social care integration

Mr Sinclair said that NHS National Services Scotland wants to enable people who live and work in Scotland to live longer, healthier lives at home or in a homely setting but to do this they must find the right partners.

Collaboration was a key theme throughout all the Keynote Arena sessions. Focusing on this area, Mr Sinclair urged suppliers in the audience to think about what they could offer the healthcare procurement market. He discussed the challenges that NHS NSS faced and how the organisation would tackle them, noting that NHS NSS cannot do it alone:

“Our supply partners are fundamental to the delivery of our services and to the ability for the NHS in Scotland to provide excellent care.

So, thank you – but here is a challenge.

What more could you do?

What more could we do?”

“The Pledge”

Jim Miller, Director of Procurement Commissioning and Facilities at NHS Scotland, also spoke in the Keynote Arena. He spoke in depth about trust between buyers and suppliers, noting that the “five C’s” – credibility, competency, consistency, commitment and creativity – are considered throughout the decision-making process and are all factors that NHS Scotland considers when adding suppliers to its frameworks.

To achieve these “five Cs”, Mr Miller understands that both communities must work together and to this end he pledged that he will begin scope for a supplier development programme and meet with a key supplier every month to help build on these relationships.

As part of this “pledge” he also plans to attend and support the running of P4H Scotland 2020. Speaking to the P4H content team, Mr Miller said:

“I love supporting this event, I think it’s one of the few opportunities where we can be health-specific in our conversations…

It’s the second year that we have done it, I hope to be able to say it’s the third year we have done it next year, I think it’s really important”

Event highlights

Our post-event highlights video has just been released! BiP Solutions would like to thank all our event partners, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and delegates for making P4H Scotland 2019 such a great event.

BiP Solutions is delighted to announce that P4H Scotland will be held again in Edinburgh on 22 April 2020. We look forward to seeing you all next year!

Visit the P4H Scotland website: www.p4hscotland.co.uk