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National Training Awards 2009 - Regional Winner - West Midlands

Procurement Training Makes Significant Savings for Councils

A public procurement training programme run by Bottom Line Improvement Processes has saved West Midlands' councils more than £300,000.

Following a competitive tender process, Coventry City & Warwickshire County Councils engaged BLIP to create a training programme for members of staff who had a strategic procurement role either in a central procurement capacity or as part of their developed responsibilities. The Councils’ aims were to improve skills and knowledge, get better value for money and reduce financial risk in procurement.

Success was measured by a drop in procurement spending without any reduction in the scope and scale of the goods and services being bought.

The training was divided into modules dealing with subjects such as writing specifications, selecting suppliers and evaluating bids. To this BLIP added a series of specialist skills including risk management, negotiation and European Union procurement law.

The training catered for different learning styles with a balanced mixture of didactic learning, practical exercises, casework and discussions, supported by workbooks.

The training programme included individual self-assessment (pre & post course) and personal action planning, encouraging trainees to transfer the lessons learnt into day-to-day work. All training was accredited for Continued Professional Development (CPD) credits. Those who completed four core and two optional modules (plus an internal module for Warwickshire) received a Certificate of Procurement Competence from their Council.

In all, 152 people attended the core training and 77 completed to certificate level. The change in performance was dramatic and began almost immediately. According to Q&A sessions and surveys, participants were saving money, writing cleaner specifications and asking more informed questions of the central procurement office.

Various efficiencies have saved the council more than £300,000. Buyers are better informed, more confident and less guarded.

The core programme has since been rolled out to 90 delegates across Milton Keynes & Walsall Metropolitan Borough Councils and through the West Midlands Regional Improvement & Efficiency Partnership to other local authorities in the West Midlands.

"Delivery of this training was the culmination of several months work to understand the specific procurement training needs of Warwickshire County Council," says Paul White, the council's Strategic Procurement Manager. "Bottom Line Improvement Processes was a major contributing factor in turning our procurement training vision into reality."

National Training Award Winner - 2009

Brian Watt of BLIP with Paul White – Strategic Procurement Manager for Warwickshire County Council & Denise Wilcox – Procurement Advisor for Coventry City Council
Brian Watt & Linda Settle of BLIP with Procurement Team members from Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council.
Brian Watt of BLIP receives the award at the presentation dinner
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