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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!

Cyber Security Awareness Week

In recent years cyber security has become ever more of a pressing issue. The after-effects of the devasting WannaCry attack that affected major organisations in 150 countries around the world, including the NHS, are still being felt, and the scale of cyber interference in worldwide democracy is starting to become apparent – if not fully realised yet. Gone are the days when ‘cyber security’ simply meant individual users not clicking links in scam emails; cyber attacks are becoming ever more insidious, sophisticated and large-scale. The National Cyber Security Centre has said it defends the UK from an average of ten cyber attacks per week.

Bearing all of this in mind, the need for companies to become aware of the risks, and to ensure that they are as they are as secure as possible, should be apparent. In this post, we’ll discuss about how BiP Solutions can help, and give a round-up of our cyber security-related updates from this week.

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed and industry-supported scheme that helps both businesses and public sector organisations protect themselves against cyber attacks and provides a clear statement of the basic controls organisations should have in place to protect themselves. The certification defines clear guidance on basic cyber security for organisations of all sizes, and offers a solid foundation of cyber security measures that all types of organisations can implement at a low cost.

Being Cyber Essentials certified is mandatory for any organisation bidding for central government and MOD contracts that deal with the handling of personal information and/or the provision of certain IT products and services. Therefore, if you’re looking to bid for these contracts, you must hold Cyber Essentials certification.

For Cyber Security Awareness Week we’re offering the chance to become certified for £250 plus VAT, through using the code ‘Cyberaware50’ at the checkout. See Cyber Essential’s top ‘next steps’ tips here, and for more details, see https://www.cyberessentialsonline.co.uk/.

Expert analysis & opinion

To learn more about how cyber security is currently affecting procurement, download our two most recent reports. Our 15-page ‘Challenges & Opportunities for Local Government Procurement in a Digital World’ includes a feature on key digital trends in procurement, including cyber security and its links to blockchain technology. Our survey report, ‘Procurement Approaches Across the Public Sector: Challenges & Opportunities 2018-19’, produced in collaboration with our colleagues from iGov Survey, brings together research and opinions from throughout the public sector. Key statistics include the fact that 63% of respondents said that they now have a designated cyber security lead.

Cyber security has a huge crossover with the Defence sector, not only in terms of active national security operations – an ever-growing area of focus – but also in areas that affect every business or organisation, such as ensuring transactions are secure. Each day this week our Defence Online site has been featuring special contributions from industry experts on how cyber security affects many different areas of the Defence sector. Read all the features here. And for more on how the Defence sector in particular needs to consider the ease with which cyber attacks can be conducted, see this post from our Defence Contracts International site, along with more cyber security top tips.

To learn more about BiP Solutions and our full range of solutions and how they can help ensure you’re working as securely as possible, visit our homepage.

Winning Public Contracts: Learn from John Lewis Christmas Ads

how to win public sector contracts

John Lewis wins the hearts of the nation every year when they release their Christmas advert. The brand is set to do it all again this year when they release their next festive treat in just a few days’ time.

You may not think it, but if you are looking to win the attention of public sector buyers, there are a few things you can take from the current portfolio of John Lewis Christmas ads.

Preparing Public Tenders

The creative process behind a John Lewis ad will most likely begin on 26 December. Planning matters and it seems that this year’s Christmas advert has been in the works since Christmas 2016! It is predicted that the retail giant will pay homage to George Michael with a version of his festive anthem, Last Christmas.

Preparation is just as important when it comes to winning public contracts. Your business must have key documentation in place before bidding starts. An example of this is DCI Cyber Essentials. The MOD has made this requirement mandatory since January 2016 for suppliers looking to do business in the defence sector.

The process to become Cyber Essentials certified is straightforward and only takes a few days to complete. This is an investment that must be made to prepare your business for public sector bidding.

Promote Your Business

John Lewis had a huge demand for Monty the penguin in 2014, when they featured their cuddly toy product in the Christmas advert. Monty the penguin was a sensation and attracted bids of nearly £150 on third party sites like eBay. The brand was not shy in shouting about this success and they even released another batch of the toy.

When you are tendering, make sure that you too are showing off what your business offers. You may think that filling in public sector contracts is just a box-ticking exercise; however, you would be wrong.  You will need to use your creativity to sell your services.

What is the best way you can do this? Include any relevant experience that you’ve had working with the public sector. Highlight what your business did well previously and demonstrate how you would approach things with that organisation.

Think about the social and environmental impact winning this contract will have – you might need to employ more staff to deliver the contract or demonstrate how your company’s products are environmentally sustainable. These are the types of areas that can really swing the contracting authority’s decision so make sure you check out the weightings.

Include Your Local Credentials

John Lewis was praised by the public for working with Age UK when creating their ‘Man On The Moon’ ad back in 2015, as they helped raise awareness of loneliness in elderly people. The range of products that were designed with Age UK in mind did incredibly well, with a portion of the profits going straight to the charity.

If your business gives back to the local community, keep in mind that councils are looking for suppliers with strong local ties. Include this connection in your application, this will show that you are assisting the Government in its efforts to increase its spending with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) further by 2020.

Seek Expert Procurement Advice

Every year John Lewis works with advertising masterminds, Adam&EveDDB. The agency has worked with some of the biggest names in retail including H&M, Fosters and Marmite.

Just like the world of advertising, getting started with procurement, can seem daunting. If you are looking for advice on how to win public contracts, BiP Solutions can help you identify opportunities and put a bid together.

We’re proud to work with some of the world’s most recognisable companies, international government bodies and customers large and small from all levels of the public and private sectors worldwide.

To find out more about BiP’s products and services, please visit our website.