Like many public sector organisations, our client had recent success in diversifying their supply base and using smaller, more local firms for consultancy work.
They were using suppliers across a full range of services from highways and engineering to IT transformation and healthcare. This made procurement of services very difficult as there were very few ‘repeat buys’, and as a result procurement was left out of the buying process and unable to add value.
In addition, they were struggling to get a handle on their consultancy spend which seemed to be growing, meaning there was little consistency and oversight in terms of contracting process, costs, or performance measures. When they investigated this, it was clear they were struggling to classify what was and wasn’t “consultancy”.
As a result, they were looking for a partner that would help them with the end-to-end process to cover:
How to develop scopes of work that flow through a contract
How to identify what types of suppliers and contracts were needed for different engagements
What value looked like in terms of rate cards and deliverables
How to attract SME suppliers whilst still having a fair and competitive process
How to ensure compliance, including around IR35
How to achieve visibility across this population easily through self-service management information (MI) and data analytics
They were keen to align their consultancy and services strategy with the recruitment process, to ensure best value was being delivered when engaging temporary staff. This also needed to feed into their triaging process so they could rest assured service providers were engaged in the right way to ensure value for money, quality of service, and appropriate contracting route.
We implemented a three-phase strategy:
Finding an effective and compliant contracting route
This was a priority so the client could engage with suppliers on time-critical projects. We work with clients across the public and private sector and engage with them through a number of different contracts and frameworks. For this client in particular, it was important to ensure an OJEU-compliant route and so we engaged through the YPO940 framework.
We aligned this with our approach of obtaining service user buy-in to make sure preferred suppliers were compliant to high framework standards. This allowed our client to procure suppliers effectively and quickly for both new and existing engagements.
Strategic sourcing of providers
Following the onboarding of preferred suppliers, we then began to source new providers. As a proven market leader in this space we have over 1,000 contracted suppliers we can deploy to a client as part of a services procurement solution. These suppliers range from multi-national organisations and the ‘Big 4’, through to microbusinesses and SMEs. Our supply chain is built so all suppliers have a fair opportunity to be part of it and to view and bid for work – this ensures that the customer could access local, niche and SME suppliers as part of their procurement processes.
Our service included tailored onboarding and compliance, bid management, contract and payment management, alongside full reporting across all spend and projects. We also added in our triaging process whereby we reviewed requirements to look at the most effective contracting and engagement type – which also takes account of best value and benchmarked rates through our unique and rich data-set of consultancy engagements and projects. This allowed the organisation to make informed decisions around the types of services and solutions that would best suit any given provider.
Introducing consulting experts
We brought in consultants under management, ensuring compliance with industry standards to give our client peace of mind. Following this, we structured all contracts under a statement of work to ensure the client was monitoring outcomes from our inhouse delivery and project management office(PMO) team.
This meant when the procurement team were looking at a piece of work from a specialist category, we were able to engage a trusted expert to help them scope that work and understand the nuances of the delivery – this ensured a more robust scope of work, more accurate supplier assessment and a more informed decision around the type of procurement process and supplier required.
During the delivery of our service, we helped the client achieve several goals:
Clear visibility and control of a multi-million pound spend across children’s services and IT. This has allowed our client to answer Freedom of Information requests faster and more accurately than they ever have in the past.
Introduction to new suppliers across projects – system reviews through to highways consultancy and feasibility studies have increased the amount of competitive processes by 300% of the contract term to drive more competition and value.
Strategic sourcing processes have allowed us to procure services on a range of projects, from technical architecture and highways through to a whale bone excavation specialist, which has given the service user population the confidence that if they engage with the service, they will be able to find the suppliers they need.
Increased influence over professional services ‘buys’ – introducing competition from an earlier stage meaning a saving on procurements of more than 20%.
A more engaged and robust supply chain that has visibility over the procurements, the bidding process and the outcomes. They also have a fair and level playing field on which to bid so that suppliers of all sizes can be engaged in the solution.