Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business
Today, I am publishing the independent evaluation of the “Transforming Procurement through Home Grown Talent” Project. This was an £11 million European Social Fund (ESF) match funded project which ran from July 2010 to June 2015. The project aimed to improve public sector procurement skills to ensure Wales is getting maximum value from the £5.5 billion spent on external goods and services.
The project has helped to improve adoption of the principles of the Wales Procurement Policy Statement which I first published in December 2012 and refreshed in June 2015.
The report recognises that the Home Grown Talent project helped deliver a wide range of significant outcomes and impacts which will have a lasting benefit to public procurement in Wales. This includes:
The Creative Procurement Forum
This forum which comprises the three Welsh Universities with supply chain expertise (Cardiff, Bangor and the University of South Wales) has strengthened links between academia, policy makers and procurement professionals as well as supporting high profile events such as Procurement Week and Procurex Wales, which have brought innovative thinking from all over the world to Wales. The project also supported the establishment of a Procurement Best Practice Academy, aimed at identifying international best practice and disseminating it across Wales.
Training and Education
Staff involved in procurement have enhanced their skills through a short course training programme which has complemented the support Welsh Government has given to individuals studying for membership of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) and academic qualifications such as an MSc in Public Procurement. The report states that the training was well-targeted and relevant to the challenges faced by those involved in procuring goods and services.
The Trainee Procurement Executive Programme (TPEP)
We have also introduced additional capacity in to the procurement profession through the recruitment of 28 new Trainees who undertook a programme of training and education whilst working in a variety of public sector organisations. Training and education included CIPS qualification, PRINCE2 project management qualification, and leadership and management training. It is encouraging that, all but two of the trainees, have gone on to secure procurement roles.
Public bodies have also been supported through the project to accelerate the adoption of e-procurement. This has helped to simplify working with suppliers especially SMEs, promote more collaborative procurement across the public sector and has provided more up to date and reliable information on organisation spend and other business intelligence.
Collaboration and Innovation
The project has developed guidance for buyers and suppliers on joint bidding and supported a number of pilots, which have proven that smaller businesses can collaborate to bid for and win larger contracts. The project also supported competitions to procure solutions to complex public sector problems utilising provisions in the EU procurement regulations to encourage innovation.
I am pleased that the evaluation has acknowledged what has been delivered through the project and indicated that there is a strong case for a follow-on project to build on what has been achieved so far. This further strengthens my commitment to professional resourcing, a key principle of the Wales Procurement Policy Statement.
The evaluation identified broad support from stakeholders for a successor project and my officials in Value Wales are currently preparing a business case to secure further EU funding for such a project.