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Facilitating change to improve efficiency

Under the NEPRO Solution, Durham County Council awarded a contract to Bloom for the procurement of specialist professional services projects. The initial aim of the partnership was to transition towards a managed service alternative.

The partnership covers the delivery of specialist professional services procurement across 20 strategic categories. The historic model of buying in professional services had limited the ability to provide accurate management information. This sometimes resulted in cost variation and scope creep. 


The challenge was to facilitate the change from the existing segmented approach to an end-to-end managed service. Proactive sourcing and consistently positive project outcomes are imperative to ensure high-quality supplier service throughout. These changes must result in improved levels of efficiency in relation to resources, time and costs. 

Case Study 5 - Challenge-min


Bloom delivers the NEPRO³ framework. It minimises internal resource requirements for the client as it is labour efficient in terms of management, providing substantial time and cost benefits. The result is the successful creation and delivery of a collaborative solution for the procurement process for specialist professional services projects.

This was achieved by: 

  • Offering dedicated and personalised client engagement throughout the term, which incorporated an end-to-end procurement solution for the client; one of the key advantages of the Bloom accredited route to market. 
  • Listening to the client’s requirements to gain full understanding of each project specification to ensure excellent delivery. 
  • Sourcing suppliers and successfully identifying best fit for all projects for direct award and mini-competition in accordance with the customer requirements. 
  • Providing support and overseeing payments, whilst managing any contractual issues that may have arisen within each project. Ensuring a seamless service was delivered, resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction. 
  • Prioritising delivering savings on the client’s behalf and promoting value. 
  • Ensuring provision of monthly management information on all projects. This enables the client to control data centrally, allowing internal intelligence to be developed and resulting in higher time and monetary savings and greater quality control. 


The successful and collaborative partnership between Bloom and Durham County Council under the NEPRO solution has spanned nine years to date and has resulted in many positive outcomes: 

  • From the very first project procured in November 2013 under the original NEPRO framework, to the growth of the partnership plan, Bloom now delivers across 20 categories of specialist professional services spend for Durham County Council. This growth and success have been possible thanks to the highly valued partnership between the two parties and the investment and commitment from both in terms of time and resources. 
  • Numerous projects have been successfully delivered with Bloom contributing to an overall saving on projects of 7.5%. 
  • Throughout this nine-year period, Bloom engaged with a number of suppliers to ensure the best possible services were secured for each project. Of these, 89.1% were SMEs. 
  • Over the past nine years, Bloom has received just one supplier complaint, which is an outstanding achievement and a testament to our ability in understanding the specification and delivery of each project, resulting in high customer satisfaction levels.  
  • The average procurement timescales stand at 14 days for direct award and 24 days for mini-competition. 
  • High levels of corporate social responsibility are demonstrated by utilising many organisations that are SME/VCSEs. SME usage across Bloom’s marketplace of suppliers reached 79% in 2022. 
  • Throughout the partnership Bloom have remained committed to a dedicated client management approach. This comprises monthly client engagement meetings, customer business reviews and appropriate supplier and stakeholder engagement events to ensure a comprehensive all-round service. 
  • Consistent delivery of detailed management information for all projects. These reports are bespoke, tailored to the client requirements saving valuable time and money for Durham County Council. 

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