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Buying goods and services for the Council is set to become even easier thanks to new procuring templates, up-to-date catalogues and training.

As part of the Council of the Future Procuring for the Future project, inefficiencies in the procurement process and new ways of working have been identified to help Services make purchasing decisions based on need and in the best interest of the Council.

To simplify the process a package of improvements is being rolled out that includes new:

  • Procuring templates: designed to comply with legislation, the templates standardise and simplify processes and provide a consistent approach to procuring across the Council. Training and familiarisation sessions are underway, with templates set to be live by autumn.
  • Catalogue software: currently it takes two weeks to manually import approved supplier catalogues into Integra, the Council’s buying portal. After the new software goes live this month (August) that time will be slashed to less than 10 minutes, ensuring prices and products are always up-to-date.
  • Punch out from Integra: by enabling employees to view contracted product ranges and pricing on a supplier’s website, punch out allows them to add items from the site straight into their basket in Integra for internal order approval. Once implemented towards the end of the summer, punch out will provide greater product visibility and make it easier to buy items.

Merle Stevenson, Procurement Co-ordinator, said: “By looking at our processes and identifying the hurdles people faced when procuring for the Council, we realised that there were simple fixes that could be put in place to make the buying process more user friendly. We hope the steps we’ve taken will encourage people to follow the guidelines and buy from contracted suppliers who offer value for money while ensuring that savings and benefits are delivered.”

Training has also been developed and rolled out which will help improve employee understanding of the procurement process, including:

  • Quick Quotes: in any given three month period Services create approximately 80 Quick Quotes to the value of around £1.5m. Anyone looking to purchase goods and services valued between £1k and £50k must currently attend classroom based training to ensure compliance with internal and external procedures, transparency and legal protection.  Steps are now being taken over the next few months to implement online training which will be more easily accessible to staff and encourage use of the Quick Quote system.
  • PCS-Tender: mandatory training on PCS-Tender has now been completed for all staff carrying out regulated procurement exercises valued at £50k and above. Using the system, buyers and suppliers can now efficiently manage tender exercises online.
  • Sustainability training: training on how to reduce the Council’s impact on the environment through greener procurement has been completed and a project to assess the impact of the training is now underway. One standout example is the introduction of new stationery across the Council which has generated financial savings as well as wider environmental benefits.

William McQuillian, Procurement & Commissioning Manager, and Project Manager of Procuring for the Future, said: “If you are looking for training or simply have a question that needs answered please get in touch with us by emailing or by calling, because we want to help you get it right first time.”