TfL has a team of people supporting responsible procurement across the GLA ©PA Images
TfL has a team of people supporting responsible procurement across the GLA ©PA Images

New body pulls together London procurement

31 August 2018

Public services across London are collaborating to improve responsible procurement, Transport for London’s (TfL) top buyer has said.

As part of a mayoral initiative to increase the social benefits from the city’s procurement spend, TfL has a team of people supporting responsible procurement across the GLA’s functioning bodies, which include London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and the Met Police, among others.

Speaking to SM, David Wylie, TfL CPO, said: “We have a team which reports to me that covers the GLA functional bodies and they are looking at social value and responsible procurement and leading that across all those organisations.” Having a centralised team helps share best practice across the functional bodies and has given GLA a “more joined-up approach” to social value, he added.

“What it’s allowed us to do is bring together a common way of working, a common set of thinking, a set of rules and approaches that we all adhere to now and has actually started to give some of the smaller members of the GLA family the opportunity to tap into some of that knowledge and experience,” he said.

As part of the GLA Group Responsible Procurement Policy, Wylie heads the Strategy, Performance and Governance team. The team is funded by the GLA but sits within TfL, as the body that accounts for the majority of the group’s spend.

As well as creating a “hard line” between functioning bodies that report to Wylie, the group also has members placed within the procurement teams of different functional bodies to help them set and implement policy strategy. This is particularly helpful for the smaller bodies within the GLA umbrella do not have the same resources.

Other functional bodies include the London Legacy Development Corporation and Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation.

“The GLA functional body is made up of quite a lot of organisations and some the larger ones like ourselves or the MET Police, they can have people internally that can do some of this [responsible procurement] stuff. Some of the smaller organisations it’s a bit more difficult,” said Wylie.

The team members split their time between their responsibilities at TfL, leading on a relationship with another functional body and focusing on a particular part of procurement policy, including the environment, economic development or social impact. The team was formed in spring 2018 and is currently developing its implementation strategy.

Speaking more specifically about responsible procurement at TfL, Wylie said it was a “broad church of activities” that covered everything from general ethics in the supply chain – including combating modern slavery – to creating job opportunities and apprenticeships.

As well as an annual apprenticeship programme, Wylie said TfL has recently worked with the single parent charity Gingerbread on a project to encourage women to go into construction. “This was really about bringing single parents in and giving them some new employability skills. We worked very closely with our supply chain on that,” he said.

Improving working conditions within the supply chain was another priority for TfL. It is now part of all contracts that suppliers pay their staff the London Living Wage, which is currently £10.20 per hour compared to the national minimum wage of £7.83 for those over the age of 25. Wylie added there had been a “huge push” to increase the number of people directly employed by suppliers, particularly in TfL’s facilities management contracts.

Wylie also said there had been a “much bigger focus” in the last year on diversity and inclusion within the supply chain. “That’s always been a very big focus for [TfL] internally,” said Wylie. “We set up a working group with some of our key suppliers to think about how we address that issue and make it a more attractive place for all different diverse groups to come and work.”

Separately, Wylie told SM TfL was now in the process of taking over Crossrail contracts as TfL takes on operational responsibilities for the Elizabeth line, the opening of which has been put back from December 2018 to autumn 2019. “I’ve got a few individuals that are working on how those deals are going to transition and making sure that we’ve got the right supply chain in place on our side to manage those deals when they come in,” he said.

“We’ve got a list of all the legacy contracts that will fall out of Crossrail and come into the Elizabeth line and we’re working out which ones of those we can port into our existing deals within the London Underground.” Others will require an “incremental” approach.

TfL has also launched its second supplier awards to recognise the contributions of its supply chain in running and improving transport. Nominations are open until 5 September and suppliers wishing to enter can do so via the TfL website.

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