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Procurex Wales: press release, 06.08.2019

Logo for Procurex Wales

This year’s Procurex Wales event, originally scheduled to be held at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff on 7 November 2019, will now take place on 18 March 2020.

The Welsh Government made this decision to allow them to dedicate the required focus and resources to the event, given the original date’s proximity to Brexit on 31 October. The rescheduled date for Procurex Wales will ensure that the event is a success and allow maximum participation from the buyer and supplier community across Wales.

For full details please read BiP Solutions’ and the Welsh Government’s joint press release.

BiP Solutions launches second report in series exploring local government procurement

New market report considers local government trends, challenges and opportunities in a digital world

Download your exclusive copy of the report here.

Today, BiP Solutions is pleased to launch the second in our series of reports focusing on the changing landscape of public sector procurement. Our latest report considers the impact of this changing landscape for local government in an ever-evolving digital world.

The publishing of the Government’s Transformation Strategy effectively kickstarted the journey of digital transformation for Government with many local authorities taking advantage of the components available to them through GOV.UK.

In fact, across local government today, digital transformation is playing a significant role in meeting the needs and expectations of citizens. In light of this, our report considers the key digital trends and innovative approaches transforming service delivery for citizens. It also considers current spend within local government, with a particular focus on IT/Digital spend, and also draws on findings from recent research conducted by our colleagues at iGov Survey to highlight the specific procurement challenges and opportunities facing local government and the wider public sector.

Eddie Regan, PASS Training Consultant at BiP Solutions, said of this research:

The timing of the latest iGov Survey is quite appropriate, given the current uncertainty about Brexit and the continual questions about what impact it may or may not have on public procurement.

Early engagement, innovation and emerging new technologies all have a massive role to play in the future direction of public procurement. The public sector cannot afford to fall behind and this research highlights that whilst the sector is moving in the right direction, more does need to be done to upskill procurement teams and develop effective supplier relationships that deliver true value for all involvement in the procurement process, including and not forgetting, service users.’

Our report also reflects on our recent Procurex Events in Wales and Scotland and considers key ways take to get ahead if you are looking to tap into the local government marketplace, regardless of your prior experience of procurement.

To read the report in full, please access your personal copy here.

To find out more about our solutions, please visit: www.bipsolutions.com

Securing public and private cyberspace: Procurex Wales

cyber security

A recent report from McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC estimated that globally cyber crime costs $400 billion a year. Here – ahead of his talk at Procurex Wales – Paul Clarke, Managing Director of cyber security firm Xenubis, tells BiP journalist Julie Shennan how the threat is evolving and what the supply chain can do to tackle it.

Xenubis is a global IT firm that provides intelligence and security solutions to identify cyber espionage and criminal activity across the physical, human and digital dimensions. Managing Director Paul Clarke is a passionate advocate of cyber awareness, speaking at events such as DPRTE and Procurex Wales on the topic.

Mr Clarke’s concern is well reasoned; earlier this year internet service provider (ISP) Beaming surveyed over 500 UK firms and found that one in eight had suffered malware attacks costing an average of £10,516 to manage.

Mr Clarke noted: That is only the cost that we know of; a lot of companies don’t make their breaches or attacks public knowledge. This cost also does not count the effects on reputation and customer confidence.”

He went on to explain that globally cyber crime was outpacing traditional crime.

He said: “It is bigger than the global drugs trade. Cyber crime is more convenient to criminals than analogue crime; they don’t have to leave home or smuggle anything, so there is no way that the criminals are going to stop committing it.”

Hacktivist culture is also making cyber breaches easier to commit.

Mr Clarke warned: “Cyber attackers’ skills and tools are more advanced than ever; you can go to the Dark Net now and get a hackers kit which comes equipped with a fully managed helpdesk, allowing people with no experience to attempt a breach. So the threat is not now just from state-sponsored activists, it is also from organised criminals and collectives, such as Anonymous, who might have other motives.”

This increasing range of hacker types, Mr Clarke observed, is facilitated by the mobilisation of the Internet of Things. “The increasing connectivity of smartphones will in turn provide an increased marketplace for criminals,” he cautioned.

“So if you are thinking of making your business mobile-responsive then you need to think about cyber risk and cyber security. This threat is not going to go away; it is just going to get more advanced.”

Mr Clarke speaks from years of experience – having worked as a security advisor to government, as a private cyber security consultant and as a former Serviceman. However, he explained that the facts of the cyber threat were plain for all to see.

He said: “There is a lot of information out there on cyber breaches; TalkTalk, LinkedIn and the Panama Papers data leak all show how common cyber attacks are. Every bit of information in the news shows that the cyber threat is real and will affect most people at some point.”  

SMEs, Mr Clarke added, are no exception.

He emphasised: “SMEs, especially non-finance SMEs, might be tempted to think that they are too insignificant to be targeted, but this not the case. Money is going lost in normal transactions and through breaches of customers’ emails.”

With that in mind Mr Clarke urged suppliers of all sizes to invest in good cyber security.

He said: “The threat is real; it’s a case of when not if an attacker will target your company. Companies need to approach the topic of cyber security, understand how cyber threats manifest themselves in their business and how they can protect themselves at the highest level possible.”

This means prime contractors examining their whole supply chain and identifying any soft spots that hackers could target. “Attackers will target the easiest route into this supply chain, so it is up to the prime contractors to ensure that their partners are protected,” he explained.

Mr Clarke also urged the CEOs of all companies to take ownership of their organisation’s cyber security.

He said: “CEOs must start from the top down and implement education, training and awareness to ensure that everything possible is being done to protect data, money and reputation.

CEOs and senior executives need to understand that it is up to them to protect their own and their customers’ data by mitigating risk. Ministers are now discussing the consequences for company leaders who do not protect their data, such as fines from regulatory boards.”

While cyber security failures could be cause for punishment, cyber vigilance could equally be cause for reward, with the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme (CES) recognising responsible organisations.

Mr Clarke explained: “If you want to be on government supply chains you need to ensure you are signed up to the Cyber Essential programme. You must also ensure your IT team have the relevant external tools – to understand where the cyber threat come from and how to mitigate the threat – and if the IT team don’t have these tools then they must outsource them.”

Mr Clarke recognises the UK cyber skills shortage, saying not enough operational and academic training is currently on offer – to the right people – to tackle the cyber threat head-on. However, he remains optimistic that the public and private sectors can work together to make up this shortfall.

He concluded: “Government should work with the private sector to help suppliers raise awareness, increase compliance with Cyber Essentials and increase access to cyber protection tools.”

For more information come to see Mr Clarke speak at Procurex Wales Digital Procurement Zone    on 6 October 2016.

Digital Strategies in Government Procurement: Procurex Wales

CarenFullertonIn anticipation of her presentation at Procurex Wales Live on 6 October at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, entitled Digital Strategy for Welsh Government, Caren Fullerton, Chief Digital Officer at the Welsh Government, spoke to BiP Solutions journalist Domhnall Macinnes about the importance of having a good digital strategy in central government procurement.

Caren Fullerton worked for the Welsh Government as an analyst for 15 years before moving on to such roles as Head of ICT for the Welsh Government’s agriculture department and Head of Corporate Services at the International Property Office, among others.

She said: “In my current role I’m responsible for providing leadership on the Welsh Government’s own digital services and digital delivery and also for some aspects of data. My team are also looking at opportunities to do things differently with respect to ICT services and unified communications.”

In April 2015, the Welsh Government published Digital First, a strategy outlining the Government’s approach to driving digital change in the public sector. Digital First aims to stimulate the provision of a variety of good-quality online services for citizens and businesses in Wales.

Mrs Fullerton explained: “A key principle underpinning Digital First is the ability to use digital to generate efficiencies and deliver value for money. Digital First is not overly prescriptive and instead provides a framework to drive improvements; we are already beginning to see some really tangible deliveries as a result of the strategy. We have also recently published an open data plan for Welsh Government, the principles of which are repeatable across the public sector. We already publish a vast amount of open data and the plan will stretch us even further. A USP for Welsh Government is that our data is bilingual and therefore valuable to a variety of people all over Wales.”

Mrs Fullerton also noted that the introduction of the National Procurement Service has had a positive impact on how suppliers and government do business all over the UK.

She continued: “I think it’s important to remember that Wales has a distinct policy agenda when it comes to digital development and digital approaches. Nevertheless, our citizens and businesses receive many of their services from Whitehall departments so I think it’s important that suppliers of services in Wales understand both the differences and our common ground in order to deliver the best quality products for us. This also helps their credibility when they look at developing themselves as suppliers to the rest of the UK.”

Mrs Fullerton touched on the vital importance of having a well thought-out digital strategy in central government procurement, benefiting both government and the supply chain.

She commented: “You want your suppliers to have done their homework up front when they are bidding for work so that the procurement process goes quickly and smoothly for them and for you. Also, these days it’s more likely that our procurements involve limited competition with a group of suppliers who themselves have already been through a framework contract procurement process.”

Mrs Fullerton briefly explored what the Welsh Government looks for in a supplier.

She said: “I’ve met suppliers that have come with really great products they’re potentially interested in trying to sell to Wales, but because they haven’t done their research on a lot of the things that matter to the public sector in Wales and the Welsh Government, they’re not really able to compete for that work. Do your research first!”

Rounding off the session, Mrs Fullerton provided a snippet from her upcoming talk at Procurex Wales and discussed the value of Meet the Buyer events.

Discussing the importance of digital change, she said: “I think the talk is mostly going to be around how digital change is about completely transforming the way in which your business operates. It is about rethinking how you deliver your service, sometimes through a very different business model. Examples from the private sector include Uber and Airbnb, where people have completely rethought how the transaction between the buyer and seller takes place and then built an IT system and new processes to deliver that. This radical rethinking also applies to how we need to transform the public sector.”

She concluded: “I think for buyers, events like Procurex are an opportunity to step back a bit and think about what it is you’re doing, while learning from the past experiences of others.”

Procurex Wales will be a hub for opportunity when private sector delegates and key public sector representatives descend onto the floor of the Motorpoint Arena for a day of networking. To gather fantastic tips about digital change from Mrs Fullerton’s speech and to seize the opportunity to gain much more, register for Procurex Wales Live 2016 today.