College purchasing programme wins civil service award

15 December 2008
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15 December 2008 | Paul Snell

The Centre for Procurement Performance (CPP), the buying unit at the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), has scooped the purchasing prize at the 2008 Civil Service Awards.

The annual civil service awards recognise excellence across central government and the CPP collected the honour for its work improving procurement in further education (FE) colleges. Melinda Johnson, deputy director - commercial at the DCSF, led the project with support from a team at the Learning and Skills Council.

The programme was set up to improve purchasing in the FE sector and has achieved £73 million efficiency savings since its inception in 2005. Encouraging colleges to collaborate, and helping them to take advantage of pre-arranged deals with suppliers in the form of framework agreements have been key to success.

The team has also set up new deals for common goods and services, including library books, hair and beauty products and catering.

"This has proved what can be achieved by working collaboratively," Johnson told "We want to build on it, because in FE we have got a lot of work to do.

"We want to promote collaboration among colleges more, and push more business through framework agreements. We need to promote the team and continue taking a category management approach."

She added the award was a significant achievement for the team, and was particularly special because the project had continued to succeed after the Department for Education and Skills was split into the DCSF and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.


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