Australian soprano Kiandra Howarth and Australian tenor Samuel Sakker during a performance of a concert by young members of Opera Australia and the Royal College of Music (RCM) at Buckingham Palace © Press Association Images
Australian soprano Kiandra Howarth and Australian tenor Samuel Sakker during a performance of a concert by young members of Opera Australia and the Royal College of Music (RCM) at Buckingham Palace © Press Association Images

Ensemble aims to make a noise in shared services arena

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
17 March 2016

A shared service organisation aimed at non-profit organisations with small spends in the field of education, the arts and music in London is to be launched this evening.

Ensemble Purchasing – believed to be a first in the English higher education sector – has been established to assist organisations who previously have not been able to justify having their own professional procurement resources due to their size.

The three founding members of Ensemble are the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music (pictured above) and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, along with the Royal College of Art.

L-r: Barry Douglas, director of finance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; Judith Barber, finance director, Royal Academy of Music; Kat Humphries, Ensemble Purchasing; Marcus McDonald, director of finance, Royal College of Music

Above from left to right: Barry Douglas, director of finance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; Judith Barber, finance director, Royal Academy of Music; Kat Humphries, Ensemble Purchasing; Marcus McDonald, director of finance, Royal College of Music

Despite the name and initial members, the group is not exclusively for musical organisations. Those in the capital that meet HM Revenue & Customs’ rules on cost sharing groups have the potential to join.

Ensemble currently employs one full-time procurement professional, and is looking to recruit a second to join within the next month.

In addition to savings and improving value for money, the shared service intends to improve contract and risk management thanks to its professional resource.

Spend areas to be covered will include day-to-day service such as facilities management and minor works. But the profile of the members also provides the opportunity to tackle more specialised but common areas of spend, such as synergies on music scripts, instruments, concert space, and even the storage and maintenance of historical musical instruments.

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