Cardiff Council implements procurement transformation

25 January 2012

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25 January 2012 | Angeline Albert

A major restructure of the procurement department at Cardiff Council is under way, with current purchasers applying for new positions in the function.

The local authority is expanding the function from 20 to 33 buyers and implementing category management, having been given a remit from the chief executive to improve procurement and commissioning operations and faced with a target to save £18.5 million by 2015.

Head of commissioning and procurement Steve Robinson has 10 procurement roles still to be filled by internal or external staff. The improved function will have three category teams, and will be made up of senior category managers, category managers, senior category specialists and category specialists.

“We are in the process of recruiting staff,” Robinson told SM. “We have CIPS-qualified staff and will continue to focus on this but other core competencies such as decision-making, report-writing and communication skills will help buyers challenge the business and drive innovation. It’s not just about centralising activities but changing the way we work to be more strategic.”

To drive his plans forward, Robinson has been working with the University of Glamorgan to implement the transformation.

To avoid council departments buying the same or similar services twice, Robinson is also keen to raise the profile of procurement and improve the internal business’ understanding of what commissioning is. He is currently developing guidance for all council staff.

Cardiff council’s third party spend is £316 million a year. By integrating category management with commissioning, and understanding the needs of Cardiff communities to better inform category management, Robinson believes the team can more effectively influence spending decisions.

Procurement and commissioning is one of seven priorities announced by chief executive Jon House, who was appointed in October 2010.

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