15 May 2014 | Kenny Gillespie
The strong partnership between Falkirk Council’s property service and procurement means Kenny Gillespie can concentrate on maximising benefit.
Describe your relationship with procurement?
I would describe the property service and procurement as having a partnering relationship at Falkirk Council, working to deliver solutions that benefit the people.
Has your view of procurement changed?
Up until 2012, procurement was engaged in a tendering administration capacity as and when the need to create or renew contracts was required. Since 2012 with procurement offering greater benefit with a more strategically driven direction, I view procurement as a professional and integral extension to our service who are engaged from project concept through to implementation and ongoing contract management.
Has procurement assisted specific projects?
We engage heavily with procurement on all exercises above EU thresholds and have received clear guidance and assistance on engaging with the marketplace for exercises below these figures, namely advertising and/or directly engaging the marketplace through Public Contracts Scotland. Procurement has also had a positive effect in how we conduct supplier review meetings.
Today we include marketplace review, supplier/council business review, KPIs, sustainability and benefit realisation, areas for improvement, technology road mapping, specification review, and more. They focus on how we can together ensure we are maximising benefit.
Where does procurement really add value?
We are not tendering or EU regulation experts, nor should we be. We are a customer-facing and focused function, measured on service delivery. Having confidence in and utilising the skills and resources in our award-winning central procurement unit allows us to concentrate on this aspect to ensure our needs (and in turn our customers’ needs) are being met.
Where can procurement provide more support?
Benchmarking exercises with other local authorities. This could assist in reducing timescales and the workloads of staff preparing information for a PQQ.
Can you quantify the value of procurement?
As tendering and contract management are carried out jointly it is unrealistic to apportion credit. What is clear are the significant savings and service benefit deliveries being realised from the partnership. This allows the property service to reinvest and deliver a better service.
Is working with procurement easy enough?
Nothing worthwhile is easy. The service and procurement have aligned goals, namely the best goods or services at the best price at the best time. These coupled with a culture of challenging ourselves on improving service delivery encourage “robust discussions”. Partnering with procurement is
easy. By design, the exercise should be a challenge.
How can the working relationship between procurement and other departments improve?
We would like to see a procurement matrix introduced which everyone can view. This would confirm what frameworks are in place throughout the council and verify end dates and descriptions enabling previous information can be shared between services.
☛ Kenny Gillespie is property and asset manager at Falkirk Council