Do procurement differently, grow your career and learn

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 29 Jun 2023

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We spoke to Emma Law, head of strategy and resources at Orbis Procurement, for her insight into the team culture, local government job opportunities and top tips for your job application.

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Orbis Procurement is a partnership between Surrey County Council, East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council to deliver excellence in procurement.

Established in 2015, it is now one of the UK’s largest public sector providers of strategic and tactical procurement services offering innovative, flexible procurement solutions that help its partners manage and improve the delivery of public services through effective and responsible procurement.

>> Explore career opportunities with Orbis Procurement <<

Emma, tell us a bit more about Orbis Procurement and the work you do

Orbis Procurement is a modern and innovative service with over 100 dedicated team members in a range of roles including strategic procurement, programme management, policy development, data insights, and sourcing. Across the partnership it delivers over 500 procurement projects per annum and manages a third party spend of around £2bn.

What is the team culture like?

Our people are at the heart of everything we do. We have a diverse range of people working for us, and actively promote a supportive, flexible and inclusive culture.

What procurement roles are you currently recruiting for and what do they involve?

With an ethos of growing our own talent, the progression of our staff, along with the continuing expansion of our service, we now have some gaps in our structure at a range of levels. Right now, we are focusing on our more senior roles, procurement partners and strategic procurement managers. These roles are the anchors for our services, driving the strategic category approach.

What kind of people are you looking for?

For procurement partners, it’s about being able to build and manage effective relationships and lead service delivery. Having a proven track record of procurement delivery is key, but in addition, these people are the key interfaces between Orbis Procurement and senior stakeholders within our authorities, so it’s vital that they drive the delivery of excellent procurement service in our sector – having the strategic overview that delivers the best value for residents.

For strategic procurement managers, they need to have a significant amount of procurement experience and knowledge. For them, it’s about taking what they’ve done before and being able to apply the best of their learning for the categories they work within.

Why would a procurement professional want to work for Orbis Procurement?

Our vision is to be recognised as a ‘Centre of Procurement Excellence in Local Government’ and we aim to do this by helping our customers, and our partners, deliver value in ways that people trust. This is the core of who we are.

Our mission is to use responsible procurement to deliver organisational priorities and build policy outcomes such as climate change and mitigating the risk of modern slavery into the heart of our procurement strategies. We use the power of our procurement capability to provide world class public services.

This means we have a real variety of projects within our service, and therefore significant opportunity to really make a difference; we believe that this makes Orbis Procurement an attractive place to work, as well as some really nice people.

What types of exciting projects is Orbis delivering?

The sheer variety of projects that you can be working on within Orbis Procurement means that not every day is the same. This really is an innovative place to be if you love procurement as much as we do, and it delivers results. Recently we have been recognised in the awards from bodies such as the Local Government Chronicle, GO and CIPS.

What opportunities for career progression, training and development are there?

Whether you’re kicking off your procurement career, joining as a seasoned professional, or using your expertise to drive the development of policy, there are plenty of opportunities for development within our team.

What tips would you offer applicants?

Try to think about the value that public sector procurement can offer – to residents, to communities and to businesses.  What does that mean to you and what can you do to make a difference?

Also consider the soft skills that make a great procurement person and be prepared to demonstrate those to us through the application process.

Sum up what it’s like to work for Orbis Procurement

Orbis Procurement is about ‘doing procurement differently’, and our scale offers opportunities rarely available in local government.

If you’d like to work in a procurement team that is vibrant, dynamic and exciting, with lots of opportunities to learn and grow, then please do consider a role with Orbis Procurement.