Procurement Masterclass hits the mark again

8th November 2018

The East of England LGA’s annual “Procurement Masterclass”, which took place at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge on Friday 19th October, was once again a big hit with delegates – 52% rating it as “Excellent” overall and the remaining 48% rating it as “Good”.

The event was praised as an “excellent opportunity to broaden my horizons and network with others” with one delegate in particular saying that they “always come back buzzing from this event, it re-kindles my enthusiasm for procurement”.

Such glowing feedback is testament to the diverse range of thought-provoking and challenging speakers on show, the opportunity for attendees to consider the impact of the recently revamped National Procurement Strategy 2018 and the fact that there is plenty of opportunity to network with colleagues from across the region, whether reviving old connections or making new ones.
Despite being self-confessed “non-procurement” people, the event’s keynote speakers, Rowan Conway and Ian Burbidge from the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), set the tone by challenging those present to think and act like “public entrepreneurs” and to alter the long-held reputation that procurement has for “stifling innovation”.

This unrehearsed theme was picked up throughout the morning by representatives of three quite different government agencies – the Office for Civil Society, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Office of the Small Business Commissioner – all of whom sought to shake attendees from taking a complacent attitude towards issues such as Social Value, Modern Slavery, Commercial Cartels and the fair treatment of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Paul Uppal, the Small Business Commissioner, spoke very passionately about the potential £15Bn worth of transactions estimated to be “stuck” in late payment disputes between suppliers and the massive potential for this to be released to unlock both economic growth and to deliver social value.

In the ever-popular “Peer to Peer” sessions in the afternoon, representatives from the Suffolk Growth Programme Board spoke about “Supporting the Local Economy Through Procurement” and Luton Airport of being in the fortunate position of “Procuring for Economic Expansion”.

With the addition of a discussion slot after lunch to consider the impact to date of the National Procurement Strategy 2018 – generally positive – and an appraisal of the biggest challenges remaining, including making the strategy “relevant” to Chief Executives and Leaders, this all added up, in the words of more than one delegate, to “the best EELGA Masterclass so far”.

If you missed the event, then don’t worry – all of the presentations from the day are available to read at your leisure by downloading them from the event page on our web-site:

The next opportunity to network with procurement colleagues will be a special PEN (Procurement East Network) meeting dedicated to public procurement post-Brexit, delivered by EELGA working in partnership with senior colleagues from the Cabinet Office. This will be taking place on Thursday 10th January at EELGA’s offices in Bury St Edmunds with just 30 places available – please save the date and check our web-site to register to attend:

If you would like to know about our work supporting local authorities in the East of England with their procurement, commissioning and contract management challenges, then please contact our Senior Manager, Eddie Gibson – or phone 01284 758310.

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