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Getting the most out of the procurement process

In the UK, the procurement of professional services poses diverse considerations and challenges for the public sector. Everything from cost-effectiveness, compliance, risk management, the administrative burden, and transparency require clear and robust strategies. With a wide range of options being available, it’s crucial that the sector considers whether it’s getting the most out of procurement process.  

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When determining the suitability of a procurement partner, it’s worth considering the following…

Are you receiving a managed service?

Procurement is more than identifying an appropriate supplier. It’s a complex process which can entail a significant administrative burden. It involves specification builds, project closures, and payments. Having to contend with this, with the everyday requirements for effective service delivery, can prove to be disruptive for public sector organisations.

That’s why it’s crucial to determine precisely what a potential procurement partner is providing. Which aspects of the procurement process are they handling and taking responsibility for, and what are they leaving to you? A truly managed service handles the entire process on your behalf.

How quick is the route to market?

Public sector projects are often directly linked to service delivery, meaning that it’s paramount that any disruption is kept to a minimum. It’s equally important than any new services can be rolled out to the public on time.

This is why a procurement partner’s route to market is so important. It defines how quickly appropriate suppliers can be identified, how quickly new ones can be onboarded (if required) and, ultimately, how quickly a project can get started.

Is it a fully compliant framework?

Compliance is absolutely essential to public sector procurement, as it upholds a host of legal requirements. In addition, it works to manage risk, prevent fraud, and provide transparency concerning how public money is used.

When selecting a procurement partner, make sure to check whether their offering is truly compliant. Are they compliant with OJEU/FTS regulations, do they have an inhouse legal team to provide advice?

What value for money are you getting?

The value for money you get, or don’t, through a procurement partner isn’t just a question for your organisation – it’s a question for all the communities it serves, and taxpayers throughout the country.

At a time when the public sector is facing significant budgetary pressure, it’s crucial that a procurement partner can simultaneously reduce your costs whilst providing a thorough and effective solution. For instance, whilst one provider may appear cheaper initially, their offering might not be managed – meaning that only a fraction of the procurement process is being addressed for you; which is anything but value for money.

How experienced are they?

The public sector’s needs are extremely diverse. The procurement needs of a local authority can differ greatly to those of a blue light organisation. Which is why a good procurement partner will not only have experience within the public sector, but they’ll also have experience dealing with the full range of categories it covers – with dedicated teams and procurement experts.

Good questions to ask might be, ‘how many public sector organisations have you worked with?’, ‘how many sectors have they operated in?’, ‘do you have a dedicated team / professionals for my organisation’s sector?’, and ‘what’s the total contract value you’ve delivered?’.

Do they understand the importance of social value?

Social value refers to the wider value (financial or otherwise) created through an organisation’s day-to-day activities, in terms of the wellbeing of individuals and communities, the creation of social capital, and how we preserve the environments in which we live.

The importance of social value to the public sector has grown over recent years. However, embedding, measuring, and reporting on social value can be difficult. This is why a procurement partner should understand social value and its importance throughout the procurement process – helping you to achieve far-reaching outcomes that deliver for the communities you serve.

Choosing Bloom’s unique procurement solution

Since 2012, we’ve provided the public sector’s go-to solution for the procurement of professional services.

Our team of procurement specialists have delivered projects collectively worth more than £1 billion. This has earnt us the trust of over 500 organisations, spanning every category within the sector – including the NHS, blue light, local authorities, central government, housing associations, and academic institutions.

Through the unique and compliant procurement framework, NEPRO3, we provide a managed and outcomes-based solution that delivers…

  • A rapid route to market in as little as 13 days, through mini competitions and direct awards
  • Average savings of 14% against budget. Our clients only pay for services that are delivered
  • An approach that handles each aspect of the procurement process for you, eliminating all of the admin
  • An easy way to embed, measure, and report on social value

 Our team would be delighted to hear about any of your upcoming projects, and to share how we can solve your procurement challenges.