Since the latter part of 2017, Warwickshire County Council and CIPFA have been collaborating to develop a Procurement Benchmarking Club. It has been designed to provide public sector organisations, (local authorities, further education, health, blue light services, housing associations), that have their own central procurement service, with valuable and insightful information about the service they provide.
Paul White, Head of Procurement, Warwickshire County Council, commented:
“To assure myself that the council’s procurement service was providing value for money, I needed to know how it compared with other public sector procurement services. At the time, there was no procurement service benchmarking available that gave me the service level data that I needed, so I set about creating my own benchmarking club. After a couple of years it had started to work well and was delivering excellent data that I could use to shape my Service, but it still had its limitations.
"It was at this point that I approached CIPFA to discuss a potential collaboration, as it has an abundance of benchmarking expertise and comparative tools. Together we developed the Procurement Benchmarking club which now provides a comprehensive set of comparisons. We have club members from around England, but we are always looking to add to our group!
"If you are interested in chatting about the benefits of benchmarking your procurement services, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or email the CIPFA team.”
Following a successful trial earlier this year, CIPFA’s Corporate Services Benchmarking team is now ready to launch the latest round of procurement benchmarking which covers the period between April 2017 and March 2018. Questionnaires are sent out in September, completed and returned in October, with final reports available in December.
“I found the benchmarking information report really useful as an initial indicator of how we were performing in comparison to other authorities, but perhaps more usefully being part of the benchmarking club has given me the opportunity to start a more in-depth discussion with a number of authorities around the operation of the procurement service and the processes adopted. It has proved a really useful exercise at a time when we, like most authorities, are facing increasing financial challenges and obtaining value for money through procurement is increasingly important.” – Rachel Tanner, Head of Procurement, Lancashire County Council.