AoC procurement newsletter autumn 2010


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AoC procurement newsletter autumn 2010

  1. 1. Content • Introduction • Case studies • Announcements • Training • Top tips and quick wins • Contacts Procurement Newsletter Autumn 2010
  2. 2. Welcome to the Autumn edition of the AoC Procurement Newsletter which provides you with an insight into the excellent procurement work that’s taking place in our Colleges across England and Wales. Following the Spending Review announcements in October it’s now even clearer that we have to make our money go further and get more for less across the further education sector. We believe that one way to combat these issues is to procure more effectively across your Colleges and get best value whenever possible. This newsletter is designed to direct you to good practice case studies and examples of how you can save money to use on frontline service delivery. We hope you’re able to use some of the information we have provided to make a real difference in your College. If you would like to discuss procurement in more detail please don’t hesitate to email us at or contact our new helpdesk number on 0808 178 1669. Introduction
  3. 3. We can help your College save money The AoC Procurement Development Team offers many services to Colleges, including helping you to achieve savings and efficiencies through better procurement and process improvement. Here are some of the ways our team can help you save: • Support to maximise the effectiveness of the College procurement function Assisting with audit and review of current activity and preparation of procurement policy, strategy and action plans, plus spend analysis reports. Thirty Colleges who have implement- ed report recommendations have saved £2.5 million between them. • Free training programme Training designed to equip College staff with the skills and knowledge to deliver efficient and compliant procurement. A wide range of topics are on offer including contract law and EU regulations. • Signposting value for money deals By working with, and benchmarking consortia such as Crescent Purchasing Consortium and Here’s what people are saying about us: “The AoC Procurement Development Team has laid down the foundations for effective procurement across the sector. They provide support and guidance which has helped those directly involved in procurement to share knowledge and resources. This has allowed the sector to develop and establish a robust and skilled procurement capacity, which has delivered real savings and efficiencies, and by doing so is now a valued and recognised function of the College”. Angie Pilgrim, West Nottinghamshire College, Procurement Manager. “Blackpool and The Fylde College has worked extensively with the AoC Procurement Development Team on various initiatives which include leading collaborative procurements, developing best practice and increasing efficiencies. They are a valuable sector resource that help maximise best value from our procurement activities”. Pat Condon, Procurement and Legal Services Manager, Blackpool and The Fylde College. Buying Solutions the team can suggest suppli- ers who can offer savings to your College. Savings realised by Colleges from adopting recommendations following benchmarking amount to over £900,000. The average savings identified from the benchmarking programme are over 19%. • Assistance with tenders We will advise your College when carrying out complex tenders to help reduce the likelihood of legal challenges and obtain value for money. • Collaboration The team encourage and support regional pro- curement collaborations in order to realise the benefits of economies of scale and process cost reduction. • Where to find information Visit; for detailed guidance and advice on procurement or go to www.aoc.
  4. 4. Case studies Manchester College turns up the heat on exam boards Reduce your printer costs and help the environment Over the last few months the Aoc Procurement Development Team has teamed up with Dr Tim Strickland from FE Sussex in delivering a number of workshops aimed at helping Colleges make savings with exam boards. It’s clear to see that Colleges up and down the country are starting to take this issue seriously and develop their own strategy for approaching exam boards about potential savings. We recently caught up with Andrew Harrison, Vice Principal at Manchester College, who’s College has been busy preparing itself for such an approach, he explains, “We analysed our exam expenditure from the start of the calendar year and realised that we had spent approximately £3m with our five largest examining bodies...for full article visit our website A good energy management policy in your College can really help reduce costs and your impact on the environment. Thinking about your College’s approach to energy can easily be bypassed but some Colleges are starting to develop strategic approaches to energy and understanding the benefits this can bring. West Nottinghamshire College has been looking at energy use across its campuses to try and reduce wastage, including turning off monitors left on over night. A simple start but it’s got the ball rolling. They have now launched sustainability and environmental pages on the College intranet which help to inform colleagues and students of the latest initiatives, plus an online energy survey has given people the chance to give their views and opinions...for full article visit our website.
  5. 5. Over voltage creates cost and carbon challenge Case studies Most Colleges in the UK are paying too much for their energy bills because of over voltage on the electricity grid. There’s a solution available to combat this problem called Voltage Power Optimisation (VPO) technology, which simultaneously helps to reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint. So far, over 30 different further education institutions have installed VPO technology, saving an average of just under ten per cent on their annual electricity bills. Following installation of this technology you usually see a return on investment from between one to five years... for full article visit our website The Federation of Gloucestershire Colleges has been busy working on a highly successful waste collaboration project which has produced an impressive annual saving of over £75,000. We caught up with Karen Hulatt, Finance Office Manager at Gloucestershire College, who headed up the collaboration. “Our group has been looking at doing a tender for waste disposal services due to various reasons, including imminent contract renewal dates and dissatisfaction with current suppliers. It made sense to approach this from a regional perspective as there currently isn’t a framework available on any consortia.” During the initial stages of the collaboration it became clear that the different requirements for each College would make it more complex than first thought, so it was important to be clear about what was needed from the outset, Karen explains...for full article visit our website. Gloucestershire Colleges ‘waste’ no time in collaborating
  6. 6. Shared Services The Pocket Guide to Shared Services Little Book of Big Savings Announcements The AoC Procurement Development Team has been raising awareness of shared services across the further education sector, and highlighting the benefits that these can bring. The Government is keen to see the benefits of shared services realised within Colleges and has allocated funding to support this objective. Twenty one groups involving 102 Colleges are to receive a share of a £2 million Efficiency and Innovation Fund. This fund was established to support Colleges to test shared service models and collaborative working, with the main aims being to: • identify ways of improving service delivery of both back office and frontline services • determine where efficiency savings can be made • provide solutions to the problems and barriers that collaborating groups often encounter The projects are set to begin now and will be developed over the coming months. There are Colleges from across England involved and the projects focus on a wide variety of activities. The common theme from the bids is the recognition that collaboration and sharing can make a significant impact on College efficiency in these uncertain economic conditions. The AoC will assist the project groups and those who wish to follow their example, by capturing lessons learned and assisting with the dissemination of the good practice that is developed. We have recently published ‘The Pocket Guide to Shared Services’ which includes ten tips on how to successfully initiate innovative shared service solutions in your College, with the ultimate goal of saving money for your College to reinvest on frontline services. The ten tips provide information about the different stages involved including, partnership building, rationalising your internal processes, understanding what to share, training your staff and being innovative. If you’d like a copy of the guide email, or for more information visit our shared services webpage. We recently published ‘The Little Book of Big Savings’ which provides ten top tips (plus two bonus tips) to help your College make savings. The top tips cover a range of subjects including reducing telephony charges, MFD and printer costs, food deals, energy savings and much more. If you’ve not received a copy please email and we will send one out.
  7. 7. AoC Annual Conference and Exhibition – 16 - 18 November 2010 Buy together and save money Our team will have a stand over all three days, so please take the opportunity to come and ask us questions relating to exam fees, shared services, spend analysis, collaboration, tenders or any other procurement related questions that you may need answering. We’re also running a workshop called Delivering efficiency savings and service improvements through innovative shared service solutions which draws from extensive research and practitioner know-how. Delegates will be able to fast-track their knowledge on how best to successfully initiate 'shared service solutions' between Colleges and other partner organisations. The session will include a self diagnostic tool specifically designed to help build your College’s in-house capacity to share services. For specific event information please visit www. If you’re looking to make greater savings, why not pool your purchasing power by using Buying Solutions’ Aggregation Portal? Aggregation is a key enabler of greater savings, and the new aggregation portal provides public sector organisations with the opportunity to join up with others looking to procure similar goods and services, facilitating greater savings for all through economies of scale. The whole public sector is being asked to do more with less, and as part of the Government’s Efficiency and Reform Group, Buying Solutions is able to offer expertise, experience and practical help to deliver greater savings for your organisation. If you’re looking to procure a product or service, why not consider pooling demand with other organisations? Visit the Buying Solutions portal where you can state your requirement, and a member of the aggregation team will be in touch. For more information, please contact the customer service desk on 0345 410 2222 or info@ Announcements Save with Buying Solutions’ eAuctions calendar Following on from recent aggregated eAuction successes which have delivered up to 42% savings, Buying Solutions has published a calendar of eAuctions up to March 2011. The recent eAuctions have delivered average savings of 25% against pre-auction prices. Successes include an impressive 42% saving for a group of Merseyside Councils on office supplies - equivalent to over £3.5 million, and a 36% saving for six central Government departments who aggregated their requirements for Government Carbon Offsetting Facility (GCOF). The eAuction programme can help to deliver savings for your College by getting suppliers to bid online for your business, driving costs down in a matter of hours. What’s more, by bringing your spend together with other public sector organisations Buying Solutions can help you realise further benefits of economies of scale. Buying Solutions’ experienced category teams will work closely with you and the suppliers throughout the process to ensure that your requirements deliver best value for money and make full use of existing framework agreements. Please view the full calendar up to March 2011 to find out what eAuctions are coming up. If you’re interested in joining an eAuction please complete the Expression of Interest form. For more information, please contact the customer service desk on 0345 410 2222 or info@
  8. 8. Announcements User friendly guidance for procurement New look procurement guidance website – we need your input If you’re responsible for procurement in your College then you need to know about the key processes, why they are important and how to carry them out. Procurement is not just about buying - it’s a complete cycle that starts with identifying a need, through to the disposal of goods, the completion of a service or the end of a contract. We have developed a toolkit called ‘An Introduction to Procurement in FE Colleges 2010’ to help you with the different stages involved in procurement. The toolkit includes a wealth of information, and has a number of ‘how to guides’ which give in-depth information on specific topics including European procurement law, contract management, procurement strategy, as well as providing an example contract template and many other topics. You can access the toolkit at http://www.felp. html. If you have any questions regarding the toolkit please email the team at procurement_ I’m sure many of you will have visited our website called FELP ( which hosts a vast library of procurement guidance, case studies, ‘how to guides’, Government guidance, discussion forums, and much more. Well, over the last few months we’ve been working hard to improve the site and make it more user friendly with the most up-to-date information. We’re excited to announce that the new look website will be ready in the new year, but before the official launch we’d like to know what you think of it. In February we’ll be running tester sessions where you’ll get the chance to navigate the site and feedback about what you like and what you don’t. If you’d like to take part please email
  9. 9. Training and procurement efficiency forums How to Promote Procurement in your College (Remote Training) Exam Fees workshop, 10 December at Walsall College Contract Management Contract Law Introduction These session are aimed at staff that are new to procurement in their college or are already in a procurement role and want to understand the importance of procurement to your college and promote the benefits of good procurement practice. This is a remote training session and the next date for this session is : • 15th November • 19th November • 26th November Due to growing interest and after the success of the previous sessions in Manchester & London, the AoC FE Procurement Team are holding an additional workshop which will cover the procurement of awarding body services to ensure best value for your College. The session, led by Dr. Tim Strickland, will offer practical guidance based on his experience with FE Sussex where he has implemented a number of strategies resulting in significant benefits for member Colleges. The event will be held at 9.30am on the 10th December at Walsall College, Wisemore Campus. It will finish at 1pm with lunch to follow. This training provides practical support in extracting value for money from the supply chain. Items under discussion include achieving successful contract handover, management that delivers supplier performance, delivering added value through the life of a contract and managing risk and contract changes. The dates for this training are: • 23 Nov 2010 at Wiltshire College Lackham • 29 Nov 2010 at Centre Point London • 01 Dec 2010 at Stratford upon Avon College This training is designed to create a better understanding of contract law including a review of some of the important contract terms. It is aimed at those with no prior knowledge of contract law. The dates for this training are: • 25 Nov 2010 at New College Nottingham • 03 Dec 2010 at Centre Point London The procurement team is offering a range of training on various topics, this includes:
  10. 10. Training and procurement efficiency forums If you would like to attend any of the training in this briefing please e-mail your: name, job title, college name and contact number to Places on these workshops are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. For presentation slides from previous training sessions please follow this link: en/aoc-procurement-team/procurement-resources-and-training.cfm Visit our procurement resources and training page for information and prsentation from previous sessions Contract Law Advanced North Western Purchasing Consortium (NWUPC) Ltd Training funded by the AoC Procurement Team How to reserve a place This training is intended to go beyond the basic essentials of a contract and look more closely at some of the pitfalls in terms of contract formation and contract terms. It will also cover legal updates in areas such as sale of goods, supply of services, negligence and competition law. The dates for this training are: • 07 Dec 2010 at Centre Point London • 09 Dec 2010 at New College Nottingham Further training sessions From January 2011 through to March 2010 we will be offering further training on a range of topics. The dates will be confirmed in the next couple of months, so please look out for these. The topics to be covered include: • Awarding Tenders: A Practical Guide • Negotiation Skills • Post Tender Problems - Managing Contract Disputes The AoC Procurement team have also provided NWUPC Ltd funding to undertake training. Training is offered on a variety of topics as outlined below, if you would like further information please email • Introducing Project Management – 24 Nov 2010 at the Innovation Centre, Salford • Advanced Procurement Skills – 14 Dec 2010 at Liverpool University
  11. 11. Top tips and quick wins Beware ‘free’ offers may not be all that they seem One of our Colleges recently received a flyer from a company advertising ‘free’ software, subsequently a staff member innocently signed the slip and sent this back but never used the software. The College’s Procurement Manager is now looking at an invoice charge of £500 due to not cancelling the subscription. The College has since warned staff to be aware of such ‘free’ offers. A friendly warning worth thinking about. Sharing financial info makes for a smoother procurement ride Cambridge Regional College allows full access to their finance system for all their procurement team, which helps to provide an overall picture of expenditure across the College leading to more strategic procurement. Management information reports help the team to identify specific areas of spend and allocate savings to specific budgets. Supplier payment history also allows the team with benchmarking exercises and any supplier disputes. Water course surveys bring in the £££s We recently told you about the trend of Colleges taking up the option of water course surveys on their campuses but until now we’ve not had any cash savings to report. This has now changed and we’re happy to say that an excellent saving has been made by Bourneville College. The College has recently completed a survey for one of their campuses and has reported immediate savings of £40,000 which could potentially rise to a staggering £80,000. It just goes to show water course surveys are definitely worth looking at if you want to make a big saving. Campus cash machine is the height of convenience St Brendan’s Sixth Form College Bristol has installed a bank machine on their campus which has proven to be a big hit with both students and staff. Finance staff from the College are able to manage loading the cash in and out of the machine, so it doesn’t require any day to day involvement from a bank or building society. The College doesn’t make a profit from the machine, but sees it as a great way to improve their students’ experience. Lodging cards with suppliers A number of Colleges are lodging credit cards with suppliers to help make the purchasing process easier. South Worcestershire College has recently done this with Lyreco and found it very easy to set up, and the card runs alongside their online ordering system. Similarly, Worcestershire College of Technology, has also lodged their credit card with Lyreco via one simple phone call. For more information about companies that allow you to lodge credit cards, email
  12. 12. Association of Colleges Procurement 2-5 Stedham Place London WC1A 1HU Contact Procurement Team Helpdesk Number, 0808 178 1669 Ray Poxon Senior FE Procurement Manager 07917 266 082 Carl Johnson FE Procurement Manager 07767 323 191 Martin Toomey FE Procurement Manager 07818 533 393 Beverly Aboagye FE Procurement Manager 07584 528507 Roger Coles FE Procurement Manager 07920 720651 James Durcan FE Procurement Analyst & Customer Advisor 07917 426 077 Lesley Templeman Programme Support Officer 07827 277 096 Simran Sobhraj London Region and Procurement Administrator 020 703 49966 General enquires: EMM queries: AoC procurement pages: FELP website: