NHS Commercial Solutions

Lead Category Manager

£50,441 to £56,534 a year incl. HCAS (NHS Band 8a)
04 Nov 2022
04 Dec 2022
Job Level
Buyer, Manager
Public Sector
Contract Type
Full Time
CIPS Membership
CIPS member, Non CIPS member

At NHS Commercial Solutions (NHSCS), making a difference is important to us. If you're motivated and interested in delivering meaningful progress in the NHS, then these roles could be for you. We are looking for two Lead Category Managers to join our team.

This is an excellent opportunity to develop your career and category management experience as part of our strategic sourcing teams. These will be strategic roles, one predominantly focusing on Estates and Facilities category and one on the Digital category. The roles will be involved in delivering projects, frameworks and call off procurements for NHS Trusts primarily in the South East region.

NHSCS provides a wide range of services to our NHS customers, from provide single trust sourcing plans and mini-competitions through to large complex, multi stakeholder outsourcing contracts.

NHSCS is a Collaborative Procurement Hub that provides end to end services across the full procurement cycle.

We are a not for profit organisation and since it formed in 2007 it has saved its customers more than £250 million pounds and any surplus we make goes back into the NHS.

We work to unlock collaborative solutions across the NHS and wider public sector, supporting acute, mental health, community, ambulance trusts and commissioning organisations.

We work closely with other NHS Collaborative Procurement Hubs across the country as Procurement in Partnership.

Main duties of the job

This is an opportunity to develop your experience in large scale procurements, collaboration, commercial business development and specialist category knowledge.

You will have excellent stakeholder engagement skills, procurement expertise and be able to lead the strategic development of the category. You will be a team player, enjoy working collaboratively and in return you will be supported to enhance and develop your current knowledge and skills.

NHS experience is desirable but not essential, however a demonstrable knowledge and understanding of Public Sector Procurement is required.

About us

NHSCS are NHS owned and funded and are hosted by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. We are based in Dorking, Surrey and offer hybrid working.

Job responsibilities

This is a full time role for an experienced lead category manager who will come in to lead specific strategic sourcing and category related initiatives for defined projects impacting all stages of the Procurement life cycle for a number of NHS organisations.

The candidate will be expected to take the lead on a portfolio of category initiatives ensuring contract compliance, sustainable cost improvements, and a range of other benefits associated with the sourcing of Estates and Facilities and other services or products whilst maintaining NHS Commercial Solutions high standards.

The candidate will work closely with procurement teams to ensure cohesive strategies in the delivery of products and services.

The Role Holder Will

  • Support the development and delivery of a strategic and operational procurement service
  • Work with stakeholders to ensure that service specifications, procurement evaluation criteria and assessment processes are fit for purpose and will result in the effective procurement of individual services
  • Support delivery against an annual procurement delivery plan in line with the organisations objectives to support Acute, Community and Mental Health Trusts for collaborative and independent projects
  • To manage a rolling workplan capturing and managing procurement intentions for a range of NHS organisations.
  • To drive change and innovation within NHSCS, in order to deliver commercial excellence across the region. This will be achieved by focusing on:
    • improving stakeholder benefit and advantage through new solutions.
    • engaging with stakeholders to understand their strategic integrated business plans and developing solutions that meet the needs.
    • developing and implementing project solutions, both on a collaborative and bespoke project management basis.
    • engaging with supplier markets to maintain the highest standard of market intelligence
  • Take the lead in individual procurements including responsibility for the preparation of tender documentation, undertaking briefings, assessment of bidder documentation according to financial viability, risk, sustainability and alignment with collaborative procurement strategies
  • Manage and build relationships within multi-disciplinary procurement project teams
  • Be responsible for maintaining communications around any current procurements and for preparing briefings for internal and external stakeholders
  • Lead the process of evaluation and bid assessment, ensuring that the processes are equitable, transparent and defensible and ensure that the customer attains best quality and value
  • Be responsible for the assessment of bidder documentation according to financial viability, risk, sustainability and alignment with current strategies
  • Liaise with and manage external contractors, maintaining effective partnership working whenever external procurement resource is required
  • Provide specialist procurement support and advice to Trust Stakeholders and other partners
  • Be responsible for maintaining communications around any current procurement and for preparing briefings for Directors and drafting Board papers as appropriate
  • Be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the overall approach and ensuring systems and processes for procurement are appropriate, fair transparent and non-discriminatory in line with national policy and relevant legislation
  • Maintain accurate records in accordance with good commercial practice, Standing Orders and the relevant organisations Freedom of Information Policy
  • Work with the Heads of Procurement across the region to ensure the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding the best practice procurement approach
  • Advise on the impact of the procurements and the implementation of NHS policy or initiatives and service developments
  • Develop and contribute to procurement methodologies, policies and procedures.
  • Advise on best practice procurement, working collaboratively with other agencies wherever possible

Suitable for someone who has

  • Excellent communication skills; verbal, written, and presentational.
  • Strong analytical skills
  • The ability to understand and interpret complex data and information and utilize it effectively to inform others and influence key decision makers
  • A keen eye for detail with good organisational skills
  • The ability to concentrate for long periods of time with frequent interruptions
  • The ability to multitask and switch tasks efficiently
  • A proactive mindset
  • Excellent interpersonal skills

Key Relationships

The candidate will be required to maintain strong relationships with:

  • Trust Heads of Procurement and procurement teams
  • NHS Commercial Solutions Executive Team
  • Project Stakeholders
  • NHS and public sector collaborative procurement colleagues
  • External partners including engagement with the public
  • Existing providers
  • Potential new entrants to the provider market

Key Responsibilities:

  • Manage individual procurements as a project using appropriate project management principles
  • Liaise with and manage independent contractors, maintaining effective partnership working whenever external procurement resource is required
  • Provide specialist procurement support and advice to budget holders, commissioners and other partners
  • Ensure that procurements are conducted in line with the process required from the standing financial instructions, regional, and national rules

Person Specification Qualifications Essential

  • CIPS qualification or Degree or equivalent relevant experience and knowledge


  • NHS or public sector procurement knowledge and experience

Experience Essential

  • At least 5 years functional experience in procurement with a clear understanding of best practice techniques with a good history of successful delivery


  • NHS or public sector procurement experience and knowledge


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