Step 1 - Plan

Step 1 - Plan

Getting the right people behind procurement management is crucial. Bringing together a group of senior individuals who will provide a strong lead in procurement will help to ensure success. Governors can also play an important role by drawing on their business experience and challenging managers on their spending and planning.

Find a procurement champion

Identify a member of the senior management team such as the finance director, the director of estates or director of resources to be the college’s procurement champion. This senior manager needs to commit to taking responsibility for procurement by supporting and driving through new initiatives, as well as working closely with employees involved in the procurement process. He or she may well represent the college externally by, for example, attending procurement network meetings.

Appoint a procurement liaison officer

Colleges that do not have a specialist procurement member of staff will need a procurement liaison officer (PLO).This individual needs to be formally appointed to the role and to be given the time to support the procurement champion, even if it is only one of their responsibilities. In addition to being interested in procurement and having good influencing skills, the PLO will require the backing and support of the procurement champion and the senior management team. His or her duties will include: 

Providing support to the champion. 

  • Co-ordinating the management of procurement across the college; collecting and organising information as necessary.
  • Drawing on expert advice from in-house or external specialists.
  • Developing their procurement skills and knowledge through training, NVQ accreditation and CPD.
  • Acting as the link between college budget holders and purchasers and the funding body to ensure advice and guidance are correctly disseminated and that good ‘deals’ are passed on to the right people.

Establish a procurement board

Many colleges have a procurement board, which can be an informal forum.The point is to establish a group of senior people who are committed to improving procurement and play a key role in developing the procurement strategy, policies, procedures and processes.

The board should comprise the procurement champion, and faculty heads and seniorindividuals who hold substantial budgets and are responsible for areas of spend such as IT, catering and estate management. Some colleges invite representatives from colleges they collaborate with to board meetings or sub-groups.

The decisions made by the board are disseminated throughout the college via a procurement network which facilitates the free flow of information to aid future decision-making at all levels.

Seek external support

There is a range of support available from bodies such as Crescent Purchasing Consortium, Crown Commercial Services and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

Step 1 Action points

  1. Make procurement a priority. Governors and senior managers need to actively engage and push it up the college agenda.
  2. Identify a procurement champion.
  3. Appoint a procurement liaison officer. Ensure he or she has support from senior management and gains the appropriate training and skills.
  4. Establish a procurement board comprising the procurement champion and the owners of significant budgets.