Skills Development Procurement Conference 2018

28th February 2018

Science Warehouse was a proud sponsor of the NHS Skills Development Procurement Conference at The Hilton Leeds City Hotel on 22nd and 23rd February.

As part of the conference, delegates received an update on plans for the Future Operating Model from Keith Rowley, Managing Director North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative, and we also took the opportunity to join some of the workshops taking place during the event.

Procurement Standards

One session that really stood out focused on Procurement Standards, as broken down in the Lord Carter Report (published in February 2016). Presented by Joe Lever, Group Procurement Director, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Chris McNamara, Deputy Head of Purchasing, St. Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the workshop provided an overview of the key strategies Trusts should focus on to improve their performance by setting out Procurement Standards to work towards.

The NHS Procurement and Commercial Standards were launched in May 2012 to support recommendations from the Public Accounts Committee (April 2011) by providing a clear vision of good procurement. The Standards are organised under six domains:

  • Strategy and Organisation
  • People and Skills
  • Strategic Procurement
  • Supply Chain
  • Data, Systems and Performance Management
  • Policies and Procedures

Each domain contains a number of standards, all of which comprise:

  1. The standard
  2. How organisational performance will be improved from achieving the standard
  3. Maturity levels 1 to 3 identifying the attributes of:
  • Level 1 – Building – awareness and building blocks in place
  • Level 2 – Achieving – making good, strong progress
  • Level 3 – Excelling – outstanding commercial and procurement performance

The session focussed on Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust’s journey to achieve Level 1 and 2, the challenges this presented and whether Level 3 is attainable. It was evident that there were clear incremental changes required to progress through the levels, with Level 1 effectively being a ‘housekeeping’ exercise. This ensures that internal and national guidelines are adhered to and that everyone within the procurement department understands and is comfortable with their responsibilities before progressing any further.

Taking the next step and progressing to Level 2 seems to be a much more significant challenge. Here, Trusts are required to demonstrate how they meet and exceed standards of procurement and commercial performance across the organisation as a whole, not just in relation to their department.

This requires a more holistic approach – working with other areas within the organisation to ensure a coherent, connected process that is clearly mapped and understood by key stakeholders. Communication is crucial at this point, along with ensuring that the procurement function has significant visibility within the Trust, with its major challenges and objectives being understood at board level.

Once these requirements have been achieved, Trusts can then progress to Level 3, which involves a far higher level of Supplier interaction; looking beyond direct relationships with Suppliers to better understand their specific supply chains, how efficiencies can be driven and sustainability targets met.

How Science Warehouse works with Trusts

As a strategic partner of the NHS, Science Warehouse enables Buyers to achieve their goals through greater operating efficiency and cost management. We also give Suppliers the opportunity to gain competitive advantage and strengthen business relationships through our spend management solutions. The Science Warehouse eMarketplace drives efficiencies by consolidating spend through a single platform, saving time and administrative costs, with our suite of accompanying spend management solutions allowing procurement professionals to truly achieve value across all areas of spend.

It was interesting to see how closely the standards required to meet Levels 2 and 3 align with our vision to be the spend management platform of choice in the public sector.

Science Warehouse brings 18 years of industry experience to the table, meaning we genuinely understand the challenges faced by procurement professionals and can assist Trusts in meeting and exceeding these standards. This, in turn, enables the procurement function to grow and develop, bringing increased awareness and budget to an area that can often be overlooked when faced with the huge front-line challenges that exist within the NHS currently.

If you would like to discuss how Science Warehouse could help your organisation consolidate spend and drive efficiencies, please contact for more information.

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