The UK Vaccine Taskforce won project and team of the year
The UK Vaccine Taskforce won project and team of the year

UK Vaccine Taskforce triumphs in CIPS Awards 2021

23 September 2021

The UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce has claimed overall victory in the CIPS Excellence in Procurement Awards 2021.

The project, run by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, won Procurement Project of the Year as well as Procurement Team of the Year – Large Organisation.

It was recognised for successfully sourcing and deploying Covid-19 vaccines to three-fifths of the UK adult population and 550,000 people in Crown Dependencies and overseas territories over eight months.

The taskforce hit the ground running by rapidly assembling an expert procurement team of 200 remote workers in less than four months, and partnering with what it called the “Holy Trinity of talent from academic, governmental and private sectors”.

It battled material shortages, demand from other nations for pharmaceutical supplies, life-dependent timelines and manufacturing scale-up issues to make the UK the first country to buy, authorise and deploy both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

This work saved more than 10,000 lives that would otherwise have been lost, according to Public Health England analysis.

To achieve this the taskforce developed an operating model using collaborative relationships with suppliers to enable product development, build an end-to-end supply chain, and manufacture vaccines at scale.

Lead times were reduced, processes fine-tuned, and optimal pricing secured alongside ongoing clinical developments to better place the UK at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19.

Procurement’s ability to balance tailored, agile governance with thorough, sensible and practical approaches enabled the speed required to roll out the vaccines safely.

The judges said: “What has been achieved is nothing short of a miracle. This showed exceptional team effort and response to the worst situation many have ever had to face, and hopefully won’t again.

“It was a very practical approach, collaboration was key, with all vested in a clear, critical common mission.”

The winners in full:

Overall Winner

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – UK Vaccine Taskforce


Best Sustainability Project of the Year

Nationwide Building Society – Procurement for Mutual Good


Best Practice in Supply Chain Integration

CH&CO Group – Project 2020


Best Response to Supply Chain Resilience in a Crisis

AstraZeneca – Optimising Business Operations in a VUCA World


Best Response to Supply Chain Resilience in a Crisis

UK Cabinet Office – Complex Transactions Team response to Covid-19


Procurement Team of the Year – Small Organisation

London Luton Airport Operations – Airport procurement team changes course mid-flight


Procurement Team of the Year – Large Organisation

UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Vaccine Taskforce


Best Initiative to Deliver Social Value through Procurement

Whitbread – Whitbread Responsible Construction


Best Use of Digital Technology

Government eMarketplace (GeM) – The Digital Reimagination of Public Procurement in India


Best Collaborative Teamwork Project

Shell – Shell CP Robotic Process Automation


Outstanding People Development Programme

AstraZeneca – Returnship Program


Best Supplier Relationship Management Initiative

Shell – Shell Supplier Sphere


Best Initiative to Build a Diverse Supply Base

BGIS Global Integrated Solutions – BGIS Supplier Diversity Programme


Global Sourcing Project of the Year

British Steel – Graphite Electrodes Global Sourcing Strategy


Procurement Consultancy Project of the Year

Deloitte/BAT – Project PACE at BAT


Best Procurement Transformation Programme

Government Expenditure & Project Efficiency Authority (Kingdom of Saudi) – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Government’s Procurement Transformation


Best Approach to Risk Mitigation

Ministry of Defence (SDA) – Submarine Delivery Agency Supply Management Programme


Young talent

Lauren Jones, John Lewis Partnership


Leader of the year

Ninian Wilson, Vodafone


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