With Brexit on the horizon, Procurex Wales Live 2016 (hosted on 6 October) brought experts from across the supply chain to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for public sector procurement. Here BiP Solutions journalist, Julie Shennan, recounts their discussions.
Reflecting on the trials of Brexit procurement was Procurex Wales Live speaker and Finance Minister for the Welsh Government Mark Drakeford.
He said: “Leaving the European Union is going to be complex and challenging. Up until now we have relied on a shared European set of procurement rules, but that is not going to be there for us in the future, so we are going to have to work hard to replace it.”
Mr Drakeford said buyers and suppliers should prepare for this change by coming together – at events like Procurex Wales Live – to share their views and intelligence.
He added: “People should ensure that they are as informed as the can be. The new procurement agenda is there to shape and I want experts in the field to be here and contribute to the way we do things in the future.”
One expert keen to do this was Future Generations Commissioner for Wales Sophie Howe. Ms Howe presented the Procurex Wales Live keynote audience with the Welsh Government agenda for sustainable procurement.
She said: “My role was created as part of the Wellbeing for Future Generations Act, which was passed by the Welsh National assembly last year, and it seeks to embed sustainable development in all of the decisions taken by public bodies.”
Ms Howe explained that the Act led the way in establishing a new attitude within procurement, which focused on helping people, as opposed to profit margins alone.
She explained: “The Act focuses on improving the social, economical and cultural wellbeing of Wales and places a legal duty on public bodies to prevent problems occurring or getting worse.
“The legislation sets out these seven wellbeing goals for Wales – to be more prosperous, healthy, resilient, equal, community centric, culturally rich and globally responsible.”
Responsible procurement was – unsurprisingly – also a hot topic on the Procurex Wales Live conference floor, with suppliers sharing sustainable procurement tips.
Epson UK’s Public Sector Frameworks Account Manager, Dominic Kennedy, said: “Sustainable procurement is becoming more and more important to the public sector, with legislation such as that drafted at the Paris Convention making it a priority.
“When buying goods, public sector buyers have to consider not only the purchase price, but the running costs, energy consumption and disposal. So Epson UK came to Procurex Wales Live to support its product re-selling partner and to show its low energy solutions.”
Examining new technology, Mr Kennedy said, was just one of the attractions of Procurex Wales Live.
He added: “Procurex allows all buyers and end users a chance to see and discuss technology without the pressure of a sales environment.”
This relaxed atmosphere also kindled partnership discussions, as Procurex Wales Live host Sue Moffatt, Commercial Director for Welsh Government & Director NPS, reflected.
She said: “Procurex Wales helps brings people together. Not everyone here is part of a prime contractor, so the event is about partnership brokering and helping smaller suppliers understand who they can collaborate with to win business.”
New business deals were supported by the Procurex Wales Live Welsh Government Pavilion and the Procurement Advice Hub, as well as the Future of Procurement, Digital Wales, Supplier Skills Development and Professional Digital Technologies Zones.
Reflecting on this success was Procurex Wales Live sponsor Tata Steel, represented by its Energy and Sustainability Manager, Barry Rust.
Mr Rust said: “Procurex Wales Live has helped us hook up with suppliers, customers and Government representatives.”
He added: “The number of people here at Procurex Wales Live has been quite significant and the engagement we have had at our stand has been good. We have met some interesting people.”
With over 1000 attendees, Procurex Wales Live 2016 accelerated public sector procurement debates for years to come.
To join these debates, visit the Procurex Live website to register for the next big event.