The Salvation Army is setting up a new centralised procurement unit in a first for the organisation.
Currently local budget holders are responsible for procurement at a local level. This will continue, as appropriate, with professional support and guidance from a central procurement unit, the charity said.
The Salvation Army is currently working with Capita Procurement Solutions to start a procurement transformation programme involving savings delivery projects. These benefits will then be embedded via the new centralised procurement team.
The charity said that in some instances centralised procurement would ensure best value and procurement would be led by the central unit in consultation with stakeholders and budget holders.
The unit is being put together by Andrew Roper, who joined the Salvation Army as head of procurement earlier this year, moving from Dimension Data, part of the NTT group.
Roper said: “We have to be careful with funds and get the absolute most out of donations.”
The Salvation Army is in the process of recruiting four other members of the procurement team. Another four roles are expected to be recruited nearer the end of the year. The team will be based in London and be responsible for the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
The charity said that a “one size fits all” approach was not appropriate for the Salvation Army and that as a church and charity it needed to maintain relationships with local communities and businesses.
Roper said: “Where we can benefit from centralised procurement we will, otherwise we will support local centres by making sure the electronic procure-to-pay system is making things as efficient as possible, so that people can spend as little time on admin, and as much time on the front line, as possible.
“The procurement department aims to more than pay for itself in the direct financial savings we bring to the organisation so the benefits of sustainable and ethical procurement, and reduced administration for officers and employees can be really felt and add value across the organisation,” he said.
The charity is also developing a new ethical code and declaration for suppliers. Roper said that the charity had strong ethical and moral values which were reflected throughout the supply chain.
“We want the code to be more than just aspirational, it will be policy that will inform the T&Cs and will be part of the contract with suppliers,” he said. “It will cover all areas including forced labour and trafficking.
The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity working in 127 countries, providing practical help and support for people at all levels of need.
It has more than 800 community churches and social centres the UK and Republic of Ireland.