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New research report: ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers’

Against the backdrop of a further Brexit extension, and a general election which could have a significant impact on the form Brexit takes, we are excited to reveal the results of the latest research survey from iGov Survey in partnership with BiP Solutions and Delta eSourcing, ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers.’

Cover of new report 'Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers'

With UK government public procurement spend totalling around £284 bn per year, public sector buyers account for around 13% of UK GDP. It’s therefore essential to consider the potential impact of Brexit on various possible scenarios, such as a ‘no-deal Brexit’, on public procurement – as well as highlighting potential areas of opportunity. It is important to note that a ‘no-deal’ outcome is possible at the end of the transition period at the end of 2020, even if a Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, meaning that it is still important to consider the implications of a ‘no-deal Brexit.’

Capturing the opinions of procurement leaders allows for developing a real picture of the level of knowledge and aspirations of the public sector, in addition to what is already known about the legal position of procurement in relation to Brexit. This research project surveyed procurement leaders from throughout the public sector – from local and central government and the NHS to higher education and housing associations – for their predictions, concerns and aspirations around what effects Brexit will have on UK public procurement. The survey explores areas such as:

  • The key aspects of procurement on which Brexit may have an impact
  • Areas where the expectation of Brexit has already had an impact
  • The level of impact that different Brexit scenarios, including a ‘no-deal Brexit’, might have
  • The level of preparation procurement leaders have undertaken for various Brexit scenarios

Over 80 organisations from across the UK participated, and the new survey report includes a full breakdown of the results, including analysis of how responses differed by sector and where correlations and contradictions appear. Key findings include:

  • There is a perceived lack of clarity as to the extent of Brexit’s impact on procurement.
  • A majority of procurement leaders have not undertaken preparations for Brexit.
  • Cost is viewed as the area where the impact of Brexit will be felt most keenly.
  • There is concern about the potential for disruption to supply chains, but a lack of clarity as to what the practical effect will be.
  • However, in some areas of procurement, Brexit is predicted to have little effect.

Download your copy of the full report here. Visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit resources page to keep up-to-date with all the latest information and guidance around Brexit, as the situation continues to develop.

Local Government Procurement Expo 2019: Transformation and Innovation

This year’s Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE) showcase was held on Thursday 28 November at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith. As the premier event dedicated to the development of the UK local government procurement marketplace, and officially supported by the Local Government Association, LGPE remains an unmissable date in the public sector business calendar. Procurement professionals from across local government departments the length and breadth of the UK came together to discuss the major ongoing themes affecting the industry, from the embrace of social value to initiatives supporting smaller businesses, to drive efficient and effective procurement in this vital sector.

Increasing innovation in public procurement

Malcolm Harbour CBE at LGPE 2019

Malcolm Harbour CBE at LGPE 2019

One of the highlights of the day was the speech delivered by Malcolm Harbour, Chair of the Local Government Association Task and Finish Group on Public Procurement of Innovation, on how the procurement rules can be innovation-friendly if organisations know how to use them correctly. Mr Harbour said that driving innovation begins at the root of a company, with management responsible for creating “a culture in which you encourage people to think about new ways to do things and how you want to do them.” He further commented how “alternative procurement procedures including innovation partnerships, negotiations and working closely with suppliers in a commercial partnership” can inspire collaboration between buyers and suppliers. Lucy Patchett from Supply Management covered Mr Harbour’s speech in detail in an article, which you can read here.

Another key speaker was Kevin O’Malley, Innovation/SBRI Lead at Innovate UK. Mr O’Malley’s speech focused on how effective procurement strategies can help solve the complex public sector service challenges of today, with support for innovative SMEs at the heart of this endeavour. Lizzy Grayson’s session on supporting apprenticeships and Sarah Bass’s on ‘Preventing Modern Slavery in the Supply Chain’ continued the social value theme, with lively and informative discussions afterwards.

“A number of people came to speak to me afterwards and queued up… People wanted to share their experiences with me, and they also wanted to ask what we’d done and share documents with them which I was absolutely thrilled to do. One individual came up to me and said she’s aware of an individual who she believes is being trafficked into the UK and she’s struggling with what to do, so I’ve been able to support that. If there’s one thing I’ve done today [at LGPE] it’s preventing someone from being in modern slavery – which is just amazing.” – Sarah Bass, Commissioning, Procurement and Brokerage Service Delivery Manager at Telford and Wrekin Council

Transforming local government procurement

One interesting theme that was echoed throughout the event by all organisations, across the public and private sectors alike, was just how exciting a time it is to work in the UK local government procurement marketplace. Across the many special features and zones of the event, there was an overwhelmingly positive understanding of the sheer size of the opportunity available in the sector – and an appreciation that buyers and suppliers should work together to make a real difference to the lives of people across all our communities. Through many passionate speeches and insightful conversations, the message was truly delivered how imperative it is that events like LGPE exist to provide a platform for professionals to network and share experiences that can drive positive change.

Looking to the future

Thank you to all the 700-plus delegates who attended LGPE 2019, the 40-plus organisations that exhibited on the day and the 20-odd speakers who delivered such important and insightful sessions. We hope the impact of this year’s LGPE showcase will continue to be felt for a long time to come. Keep your eyes peeled for LGPE 2020 announcements and register your interest soon on the LGPE website.

 

“An incredible responsibility”: Procurement and sustainability at Procurex Scotland 2019

One month on from Procurex Scotland 2019 and the 15th Annual Scottish Government National Procurement Conference, held this year on 29 October at the SEC Glasgow, we look back at some of the major themes of the day. The event saw some of the key current and future trends for procurement discussed in depth, and among the most prevalent themes was environmental impact.

Climate change and environmental impact are issues that are increasingly being addressed in many aspects of business as well as people’s everyday lives. Given the increasing focus on social value in procurement, and the awareness that how organisations choose to spend their money can have major impacts, it is perhaps not surprising that the role procurement can play in combating climate change has increasingly come to the fore.

Managing resources

Kate Forbes MSP

Kate Forbes MSP

Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, began the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference with a keynote address focusing on “the power of procurement.” Introduced by the day’s chair, Scotland Tonight’s Rona Dougall, as “having long been a champion of the environment,” Ms Forbes stressed that “we have a collective responsibility to our social and economic wellbeing.”

Her ministerial address emphasised two key message that were to be repeated throughout the day: that the purchasing decisions procurement leaders make have a real power to influence change; and that contributing to local economies, addressing global issues like climate change and long-term business growth are not contradictory aims. Ms Forbes pointed to ideas such as challenging the “need to buy” – as reduction in resource consumption contributes to both environmental and economic sustainability.

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), also discussed sustainability and environmental issues in his speech on some of the most pressing issues for supply chain management. “We as procurement professionals have an incredible responsibility to look at how we use limited resources,” Mr Harrison said, once again emphasising the power that procurement professionals have to influence change. However, Mr Harrison also urged attendees not to “get caught up in the plastics debate.” While not attempting to downplay the environmental impact of plastics, particularly for oceans, Mr Harrison was keen to suggest that there are areas where plastics are in fact essential. He cited transport of time-sensitive medical products as an example of “a good use of plastics,” suggesting that the aim should not be to remove plastics altogether from supply chains, but to be critical and reflective of how they are used – reducing rather than eliminating their use. Mr Harrison concluded that, in light of environmental concerns as well as other ethical issues facing procurement, “this is a challenging environment for the profession – but it’s an exciting time.”

To address sustainability concerns, and understand how scarce or impact-heavy resources are used throughout their supply chains, it is important that public sector buyers have greater visibility of their entire supply chains. Supporting buying organisations to manage every stage of the tendering process and supply chain in a single solution, Delta eSourcing allows for greater end-to-end visibility of supply chains, giving greater transparency. Learn more about Delta here.

Showcasing success

Reiterating Kate Forbes’ earlier address, Caroline Colliston, Chair of the Business Leadership Group of the Scottish Business Pledge, made clear in her talk at the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference that “sustainability and long-term business growth are not competing objectives.” Ms Colliston used the image of a ripple becoming a wave, noting that small changes can add up to wider trends. Her talk pointed out that business decisions with an environmental impact do not only include large purchasing decisions, but also choices such as which hotels are booked for business travel – if travel is necessary.

Kersti Berge

Kersti Berge at the National Procurement Conference

Rounding off the main talks at the Scottish Government National Procurement Conference was a presentation from Kersti Berge, Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Scottish Government. Ms Berge began her talk by “going back to the science,” showing several graphs that illustrated the scale, speed and severity of climate change and “proving conclusively that human activity is a big factor.” Ms Berge also emphasised that climate change is not a remote issue for procurement, with the widespread wildfires in California in 2018, and Australia in 2019, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Ms Berge pointed out that, for example, insurance costs will rise dramatically for businesses with the increasing likelihood of extreme weather events.

Although Scotland is already world-leading in terms of taking steps to tackle climate change, thanks to Scottish Government legislation, Ms Berge said that, for the sake of business as well as the wider world, “we all have a role to play.” She pointed out that annual procurement spend in Scotland adds up to £11bn, and so can have a huge influence on the wider agenda. Inviting organisations to “mainstream” their successes, Ms Berge suggested procurement leaders “start early and think strategically to reach people who can influence,” to help cascade change throughout supply chains. She pointed out that there are many ways that small strategic changes can have a wider influence – for example, reducing the number of deliveries through reduced demand for goods or services means fewer vehicles on the roads and, in turn, reduced emissions. Although Ms Berge ended with a stark warning about the dangers of climate change for potential future generations, she also encouraged organisations to realise the scale of influence they can have – inviting them to “showcase your success.”

Attendees at Procurex Scotland 2019

Procurex Scotland brought together around 1500 buyers and suppliers

Early engagement – beginning conversations ahead of the formal tendering process – can help organisations share their successes and establish a position as a thought leader, even potentially influencing the factors that buyers consider in specifications. These kind of broader discussions than might be possible during the tendering process are made easier through Ingenium, the public sector data community containing every UK public sector leader, organised by job function and sector. Click here to learn more about how you can begin conversations to share your organisation’s values and showcase your success with the public sector.

As the major political parties campaign for the UK General Election on 12 December, climate change, sustainability and energy efficiency are high on the agenda for all parties, with several making commitments as to the year by which the UK should be carbon neutral. To find out more about the parties’ election manifesto pledges, and what they mean for business with the public sector, download the latest edition of our new report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers.’

Further reports on other key themes and trends discussed at Procurex Scotland 2019 and the Scottish Government 15th National Procurement Conference will be coming soon on the BiP Solutions site.

General Election 2019: The Manifestos

As the political parties’ campaigns for the UK General Election of 12 December continue, here we look at some of the major announcements from the parties’ manifestos, and what they mean for doing business with the public sector. All of the major parties have pledged a rise in public spending, meaning there will be an impact on business opportunities in areas with increased spending.

To learn more about what the parties’ manifesto pledges could mean for the public sector and UK business, how elections affect the number of public sector opportunities, and more about the major sources of opportunity for suppliers as we look ahead to 2020, download the latest edition of our report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead‘ (updated 28.11.2019). This document will continue to be updated with the latest intelligence as the situation develops.

The Conservative Party

The Conservative manifesto’s pledges are costed at an increase of £2.9bn a year by 2022. Alongside the pledge to recruit thousands more nurses for the NHS and more police officers, other policies include a £2bn fund for fixing potholes in roads. The pre-manifesto pledge to allow more borrowing for infrastructure projects has also been confirmed, with capital spend rising from £3.2bn next year to £8bn by the end of the next parliamentary session, including an aim to increase spend to make social housing more energy efficient.

The Labour Party

Labour have costed their manifesto pledges at £82.9bn. Labour have proposed a redefinition of the rules around government borrowing – considering overall ‘public sector net worth’, i.e. the value of the UK’s assets, instead of the national debt – to allow for this increased spend. For public sector workers, Labour have pledged year-on-year above-inflation pay rises, beginning with a 5% increase. Healthcare has come into focus, with the proposal of creating a new ‘National Care Service.’  Energy infrastructure and efficiency are a key area of focus, given the aim for net-zero carbon emissions by the 2030s, managed through a £250bn ‘green transformation fund.’ Labour have also announced intentions to invest in infrastructure more widely, with plans to build 150,000 social homes by the end of parliament, along with a commitment to the HS2 network, including extending it to Scotland.

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have also pledged a rise in public spending, costing their proposals at £63bn. Major announcements include a 1% rise in income tax, aiming to raise £7bn for the NHS and social care. The party have also announced a £130bn investment in public transport infrastructure, including a commitment to HS2, and the building of 300,000 new homes per year by 2024. Of particular interest to smaller businesses is the Liberal Democrats’ plan to replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy, applying to the overall land value of a commercial site rather than a calculation based on the buildings themselves. In addition to the previously announced ‘Skills Wallet’ of £10,000 per person for adult learning and skills training, skills shortages in the defence sector would be tackled by giving graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects one-off payments of £10,000 to become Armed Forces engineers.

Other parties

The positions of the UK’s other political parties could become particularly important if no party can form a majority government. Many flagship policies revolve around sustainability and energy efficiency. The Green Party aim to reduce the UK to ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030, based on £100bn of public spending into infrastructure, technology and associated jobs. Plaid Cymru have announced £15bn for a ‘Welsh Green Jobs Revolution’, while The Brexit Party have proposed that the UK no longer export any waste abroad, which would necessitate an investment in waste processing plants and associated jobs.

At the time of writing, the Scottish National Party and the Democratic Unionist Party are yet to publish their manifestos. This post will be updated as the situation develops.

But what about Brexit?

The political parties’ differing stances on the way in which the UK should leave the European Union – if at all – is not only a major policy in itself, but is claimed by several of the parties as the basis of their other spending plans.  The Conservative Party would seek to implement the Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously negotiated with the EU. The party has stated that the terms of a trade deal with the EU will be negotiated in 2020, with the aim that the UK trades outside of the EU single market and any form of customs union. The Conservatives have also stated that there will be no extension to the transition period, during which time the UK remains aligned with EU rules, beyond the end of 2020.

Labour meanwhile have stated they would negotiate a new Withdrawal Agreement with the EU within three months of coming to power, then put this Agreement to a legally binding public referendum, with remaining in the EU as an alternative option. Labour’s Agreement would aim for alignment with the EU single market and a UK-wide customs agreement with the EU. The Liberal Democrats favour revoking Article 50 unilaterally, meaning the UK would remain in the EU under the same terms as previously, which the party claims would provide a £50bn ‘remain bonus.’

Read the updated edition of our latest report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead’, for more detail on how the parties’ election pledges will affect business with the UK public sector. The report also includes detailed data on how elections since 2015 have affected the number of public sector opportunities, the major trends that will shape public procurement in 2020 and beyond, and how smart suppliers can get ahead of their competitors over the coming months. Download your copy here.

UPDATED: New Report: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers in 2020

Latest updates (28.11.19) include details of manifestos of all major UK parties.

As the situation around Brexit continues to be redefined, and political parties’ campaigns for the UK General Election develop, it may seem that there are many areas of flux to consider for businesses seeking to work with the public sector. As we approach 2020, political, social, economic and technological factors look set to play a major role in defining public sector supply chain opportunities over the coming months and years.

Yet against the backdrop of apparent uncertainty, there are significant opportunities in many areas for suppliers to engage with, with the investment to match. All the major political parties have pledged a renewed focus on public spending in various areas in their election manifestos, meaning new sources of business opportunity for suppliers that seek to work with them.

Drawing on the latest intelligence and our unique insights into the shape of the public procurement market, our latest report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead’, outlines the ways in which suppliers can maximise their opportunities throughout the public sector supply chain, focusing on key areas of opportunity, methods for gaining a competitive edge, and the solutions to enable this. The latest edition of the report has been updated to reflect the latest political developments.

The report includes:

  • Analysis of how the major political parties’ election manifesto pledges, with a focus on public spending, will affect supply chain opportunities
  • Detailed breakdown of how pre- and post-election periods can affect the number of public sector contracts awarded, with comparisons of figures from 2015 to date
  • What suppliers need to know about the major themes driving public procurement, and how they can work best to maximise their opportunities in these areas.

Download your complimentary copy of the updated report here.

As the political situation continues to develop over the coming weeks in the period before and immediately after the General Election, this post and this report will be regularly updated to reflect the latest insight and intelligence.

GO Awards Scotland 2019: Celebrating Procurement Success in Style

GO Awards Scotland 2019 trophies

This year’s GO Awards Scotland presentation took place on 29 October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, celebrating the best in all aspects of public procurement in Scotland.

Celebrating Scottish Innovation

Malcolm Harrison and Nikki Archer interviewed by Rona Dougall at the GO Awards Procurement Excellence Live Stage

The Awards ceremony itself, as part of the Scottish Festival of Procurement, was preceded by the 15th Annual Scottish Government National Procurement Conference and Procurex Scotland, taking place at the SEC Glasgow on the same day. A major focus of the day was the unique innovations that set Scottish procurement apart – exactly what the GO Awards celebrate.

Procurex Scotland included the GO Awards Procurement Excellence Live Stage, hosted by Scotland Tonight host Rona Dougall. After a joint interview with Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, and Nikki Archer, Head of Procurement and Commercial Policy & Strategy and Head of Procurement Profession at the Scottish Government, several of this year’s GO Awards Scotland finalists were interviewed onstage to describe the innovations that had led our judges to name them as finalists. Finalists interviewed included APS Group, Police Scotland, and Scotland Excel and Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company. There was also a ‘one year on’ interview with Lawrence Shackman from Transport Scotland, winners of last year’s GO Awards Scotland GO Excellence Award. Mr Shackman described the GO Awards as “a really fun Awards ceremony. I’ve been to other awards and nothing really compares!”

The GO Awards Scotland Presentation Ceremony

The evening presentation ceremony kicked off in style, with a black-tie champagne reception before guests were welcomed by a traditional piper. Presenter Rona Dougall welcomed guests before the official opening address from Ainslie McLaughlin, Director of Scottish Procurement and Commercial at the Scottish Government. Guests were then introduced to the work of the GO Awards official charity partner, the Realising Dreams Foundation.

Over the course of the evening, across 11 categories, awards were presented to 11 winners and seven Highly Commended entrants. The full list of Winners and Highly Commended entrants is available here.

The Awards presentation culminated with the GO Excellence Award. Unlike other awards, organisations cannot enter this category; instead, nominees are chosen directly by the GO Awards judging panel from among the rest of the evening’s winners. With an especially strong crop of entries this year, finalists for the GO Excellence Award were Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd and the University of Glasgow; Child Bereavement UK; and APS Group (Scotland) Ltd. While all these entries were outstanding, the overall winner was the team from Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd and the University of Glasgow, for their campus development work and its focus on integrating social value and community benefit into the project.

Multiplex Construction ltd and University of Glasgow winning GO Excellence Award

Multiplex Construction Ltd and University of Glasgow – celebrating in style!

After the Awards, the festivities continued with entertainment from two-time Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist Ray Bradshaw, performing simultaneously in English and British Sign Language, and the results of the Realising Dreams Foundation charity raffle, which saw the top prizes of a signed Scotland football shirt and an overnight stay at the Marriott Hotel raise hundreds of pounds for the charity, helping to support the dreams of many talented young people.

Comedian Ray Bradshaw had the audience laughing

What’s Next?

Congratulations once again to all finalists, and especially to all Award winners. Many of the fascinating stories behind some of the evening’s winning entries will be available on the GO Awards site Winners’ Journeys page soon – be sure to visit the page to learn more about their innovations, achievements and best practice examples.

All GO Awards Scotland Winners qualify for automatic finalist status at the GO Awards National, to be held on 22 April at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham. The GO Awards National bring together winners from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with new entries from across the UK. Entries will open soon – why not share your procurement success story?

Congratulations to all this year’s Award winners!

Photographs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6: www.scottishphotographer.com

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.

New monthly BiP Inform report series covers major market trends

BiP Solutions are proud to launch the first in our new series of BiP Inform monthly market monitor spend analysis reports. The first report, a Healthcare market trends update, covers the NHS and the wider healthcare sector.

Each month, these reports will focus on a specific area of public sector spend, analysing which organisations are spending the most, and with which suppliers. Drawing on data from BiP Solutions’ Tracker Market Intelligence tool, home to Europe’s largest database of public sector tenders and awards, our reports will detail the organisations with the highest spend during the month in question; the suppliers who have won the most and the largest contracts; the regions of the country that award the most contracts and their total combined value; and more.

Key highlights from our Healthcare report, covering data from July 2019, include:

  • Total NHS spend during this period was just over £1.6 billion
  • 663 notices were published, with a further 535 contracts awarded
  • One NHS organisation, Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, is responsible for just shy of 40% of all contracts awarded during this period
  • The top buying organisation during this period had a combined awards value of £500 million

BiP Solutions offer a number of other ways to stay informed about the latest updates and trends in the healthcare market, including Health Online, our dynamic online healthcare community. Offering a personalised experience allowing each user to select their areas of interest, Health Online allows users to stay up-to-date with the latest healthcare news as well as network with other healthcare professionals. In addition, BiP Solutions’ P4H (Procurement for Health) series of events bring together leaders from throughout healthcare procurement for keynote talks, skills training workshops and more, as well as supplier networking opportunities.

To find out more about the latest healthcare market trends, download your complimentary copy of the full report here. Further reports covering areas such as local and central government will be published in forthcoming months, allowing you to keep up-to-date with the latest figures.

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.