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14 November 2012 | Anna Reynolds
A collaborative exercise between public sector organisations in Bedfordshire to develop a more cost-effective equipment store was among the projects recognised at the annual Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government awards this week.
Luton Borough Council won the ‘partnership and collaboration’ award for leading on a collaborative project with NHS Bedfordshire and NHS Luton, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire Borough Council.
The procurement teams worked together to create a more cost-effective community equipment store for occupational health therapists providing care in the area. The councils worked closely with suppliers to make them more responsible for re-using equipment and providing a consistent service across the county.
Speaking to SM, Chris Addey, corporate procurement manager at Luton Borough Council, said: “Working in the public sector you don’t get many chinks of daylight, so this has really boosted team morale.”
Renfrewshire Council, meanwhile, won the award for ‘outstanding achievement in procurement for a unitary authority’ following the work done by the council’s procurement team to reform the way it buys goods and services. There is now one centralised procurement team dealing with all council departments, which, since it was formed in 2009, has delivered savings of around £4 million.
Oxford City Council won the award for ‘outstanding achievement for a district/borough council’ for setting up and running the Oxfordshire Procurement Hub, which supports district councils in the county that don't have their own procurement teams and enables collaborative procurement. Annette Osborne, senior procurement officer at Oxford City council said: "It was a bit of a shock winning the award, but I was really pleased. A lot of hard work went into the hub and to get recognition for it is really great."
Other winners on the night included Hampshire County Council, which scooped the ‘county council’ prize, while the ‘wider public sector’ category was won by the West Midlands Improvement and Efficiency Partnership for its work to drive more efficient buying through establishing a procurement hub and category management programmes. West Midlands RIEP has supported over £150 million worth of savings across the region since 2008.
Jonathan Jones programme manager for procurement at West Midlands RIEP said: "I am extremely pleased, it's a testament to all the work that's been put in over the years."