Leading the way in local government procurement, LGPE (Local Government Procurement Expo) returned for a second year at London Olympia on 2 November 2016.
Opening the event, Public Sector Consultant Colin Cram said:
“Local government is going to be at the heart of public service delivery transformation; it is getting more and more devolution from Whitehall, so local government will be responsible for more and more public services.”
Reflecting on this change was Tower Hamlets Council CEO Will Tuckley, whose LGPE keynote explained the importance of devolution in reshaping UK healthcare.
Mr Tuckley said:
“Devolution creates lots of opportunities to use the best expertise we have in local government and the NHS – across the public sector – to get better value.
“In these hardened times we still spend a lot of money ensuring that people have better chances in their lives and one of the ways people have better chances is by being healthier; so it is all of our responsibilities to work together to produce better outcomes. Devolution enables us to do this by taking decisions closer to these communities.”
Also keen to improve local government spend was Malcolm Harbour CBE, who outlined his hopes for the future in the LGPE keynote ‘Innovation in Procurement’.
“Public sector procurement people should be more ambitious, not too prescriptive; they should think about the big problems they want to solve then bring big ideas together to solve them. This is the way that we are going to get better public services that are more efficient at a better cost, doing a better job.”
While Mr Harbour recognised the importance of budget efficiencies, he added that procurement reform required more.
“Procurement tends to be seen as a technocratic and bureaucratic exercise, whereas actually it is far more important than that; so procurement leaders need to ensure that they combine innovation in their strategy for the communities that they serve.”
Echoing this sentiment was Eastleigh Borough Council CEO Nick Tustian, who spoke at the LGPE Adding Value Training Zone.
Mr Tustian said:
“In recent years I have noticed how you have to go through quite a massive cultural and organisational change to get to be commercially minded in procurement and I don’t think most public sector organisations really appreciate the level of change needed.”
He added: “Events like LGPE are essential to help people share their knowledge; everyone is on the same journey, just at different points along the way. I love coming to these events because I love listening to others; there is a lot of good practice out there.”
Best practice tips were shared in the LGPE keynote as well as in the Adding Value, Professional Procurement Skills, Social Value and Supplier Training Zones. Between training sessions, both buyers and suppliers took to the conference floor to network.
Peter Marshall, Professional Services Director at Commerce Decisions, said:
“I hosted a talk at LGPE about the development of appropriate evaluation criteria and after hosting the talk I got lots of people coming up to my stand, looking to chat about their projects and organisations.”
“Partnering at an event like LGPE is a very important part of starting to understand your supply base and partners. If you want to ensure that you are getting the best value for money out of your bidders then you need to engage with them as early as possible.”
Reflecting on the conference, Social Value UK’s Communications and Membership Coordinator Christina Berry-Moorcroft commented in a similar vein:
“We managed to chat to people who are in charge of procurement as well as businesses that are tendering bids.”
Echoing this sentiment was Sims Recycling Solutions Business Development Manager, Guillaume Maricourt.
“I have most enjoyed networking at LGPE; sometimes we have talked to people in procurement who are not in IT but have helped us get in touch with the IT procurement department for their companies.
“If you want to get involved with procurement in the public sector then LGPE is definitely a good show to be at.”
Register your interest in next year’s event by visiting the LGPE website