CIPS SM Awards – What Is A Procurement “Start-Up?

After we mentioned the CIPS SM Awards short-list the other week, we got a question from a reader.

Do you have a view on how Interserve, NHS England and Rolls-Royce have managed to get entered and shortlisted into the Best Procurement Organisation- Start Up category at the CIPS SM Awards?

I thought that category was for Procurement teams that were less than 3 years old (I.e. formed after 2015.)  With so many organisations setting up new Procurement teams, I'm not sure this helps to celebrate the good things they will be doing.

 We asked CIPS for a response and this is what we got back from the judging panel;

“All these examples are where a new trading arm/ business unit has been set up, or one that has been in place but had no formal procurement in place. Each of these have set up new teams, policies and processes, and developed supply chains to support their business. We have rejected other organisations in the past for this category where they have had an acquisition and completed a "copy and paste" job on the new part of the business, but all these examples met the brief and have delivered some great results”.

It’s a difficult one. I can see the judges point, but Rolls-Royce has a long, successful and established track-record in procurement. So setting up a new team there even if it is in some new part of the business, is not exactly the same as doing that in an organisation which has never even had a single procurement manager. Similarly, one would assume that Interserve has had some fairly serious corporate procurement for some time – I can’t imagine what this new venture is, but surely it must have drawn on past corporate knowledge?

And health -  the NHS England example – just seems to reflect the permanent state of chaos and organisational flux we seem to see in terms of the organisation of the NHS. Has this team taken over responsibilities that used to sit in the Department of Health? Sounds like it. (The Department of Health has lost a quarter of its staff in recent months with a huge redundancy programme – and is now recruiting of course).

Anyway, we don’t have any real suggestion for CIPS other than that it feels like the category needs to have at least some “real” start-ups on the short-list. It only has one this year, Vivergo Fuels. Of course, we don’t know how many entries were received, but it would have been good to see more “real” start-ups.

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Voices (4)

  1. Chris:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for following up on this…..

    Let’s see who walks away with the award in September.

  2. NH:

    I can see the point here and don’t know a lot about the others but can comment on NHS England.

    NHS England was set up as a special health authority of the NHS in October 2011 as the forerunner to becoming an NDPB on 1 April 2013. It was renamed NHS England on 26 March 2013 and still remains an Arms Length Body of Dept of Health.

    Until late 2015 operational procurement was outsourced and split between NHS BSA and NHS SBS on value. Over the last 2 years NHS England has built a strong and capable in house commercial and procurement function developing and implementing new systems, procedures and policies. It has also recruited to create that new function that has a much wider remit.

    As such seems to fall quite nicely into the “start up” category and would be a worthy winner! (biased opinion of course….)

    1. Sam Unkim:

      Thank Goodness. Thought it was just another NHS framework factory.

  3. Final Furlong:

    Valid question. I can’t see how a firm could have a ‘start-up’ in its organisation, in a subsidiary when, in previous years, it’s extolled the virtues of a firm-wide procurement policy. Plain daft.

    And this is similar to the submission/s where you see a ‘step-change’, but it’s been delivered by a different (successor) CPO. Clearly, the first CPO “just didn’t cut it”. It’s almost comedy.

    This said, these awards are top drawer and should be embraced.

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