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In only its second year, the SOPO Award for Outstanding Achievement in Procurement in the view of the judges result...
In only its second year, the SOPO Award for Outstanding Achievement in Procurement in the view of the judges resulted in an increase in the quality of the submissions received and the quantity.

The judging panel consisted of three highly respected consultants specialising in the field of procurement, namely

David Matthews of DMA Procurement Consultants

Fred Harvey of Fred Harvey Associates

Paul Steele of PMMS Consulting Group

This year submissions could be made by public sector authorities under one of four categories:

County Councils

Unitary Councils

District Councils

Other Public Sector Procurement Bodies

Three finalists emerged from each of the above four categories, all of which received a trophy at the SOPO pre-conference dinner held on 4 November .

The finalists in alphabetical order were:

County Council Category:

Norfolk CC ??? A Comprehensive Review of Procurement

'In such a short time and with a relatively small team, the corporate procurement unit at Norfolk County Council has made significant improvements to the way the council procures goods and services'

John Baskerville, cabinet member responsible for commercial services and chair of the procurement standards board

Suffolk CC - Electronic Tendering on Line - ELTON

'I was very impressed with the system and Ben Donald should be congratulated for the hard work involved in its development.'

One of many similar comments by suppliers to Suffolk CC.

Warwickshire CC - A Comprehensive Review of Procurement

'The authority has made improved procurement a strong priority in both its Best Value Performance Plan and CPA Action Plan.'

Paul White, Corporate Procurement Unit, Warwickshire CC

Unitary Council Category:

Barnsley MBC - Barnsley Brokerage

'.. at the cutting edge of offering services to schools and for the first time offers schools a real choice of service pro viders'

The Institute of Public Finance

Dudley MBC - A comprehensive root and branch review of the procurement function

'I now spend less time on routine administration, there is less paperwork and generally goods arrive more quickly from suppliers.'

An employee view

Leeds City Council - An Electronic Tendering System

'More than 5,500 firms from all parts of the country and abroad have registered with the system, with over £505m worth of contracts having been awarded'

An extract from the submission

District Council Category:

Exeter City Council - Home Aid Procurement Partnerships

'I have seen a change and an improvement in service delivery and in the system of pricing and ordering work on site. The waiting list had become a cause for concern and since this new system has been implemented the list has been reduced by 30%.'

Martyn Rogers, director, Age Concern

Kennet DC - Mobile Telephone Procurement

'The inclusive approach the council adopted for using skills across all levels ensured the successful outcome to the project.'

Fred Harvey, Fred Harvey Associates

Staffordshire Moorlands DC and Litchfield DC - ICT Outsourcing Project

'A contract award of £3m with projected savings on the contract price alone in excess of £700,000.'

An extract from the submission

Other Public Sector Procurement Bodies Category:

Greater Manchester Police - Towards Procurement Excellence ??? A complete review of procurement

'Improvements to working practices have recently been inspected by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary who judged GMP Procurement as 'a good service with excellent prospects for improvement'.'

HM Inspector of Constabulary

Kent Police - Project ISIS ??? Integrated Support Intelligence System

'Not only has ISIS helped Procurement better understand its organisation, it has helped the organisation better understand procurement.'

Janette Willetts, procurement manager, Kent Police

NEPO - Partnership Working

'This submission demonstrates the partnership work undertaken by the North Eastern Purchasing Organisation (NEPO).'

David Matthews, DMA Procurement Consultants

From these finalists four outright winners emerged and were presented with a winners' trophy at conference the following day. The category winners and their views on winning the SOPO Award were:

Norfolk CC - County Council Category

'The Norfolk CC corporate procurement unit is a small but very focused team that has achieved a great deal over recent years. Our successes are openly acknowledged by members and chief officers, but winning the 2003 SOPO Award for 'outstanding achievement in procurement' has given a real boost to team motivation and is much valued recognition by our professional peer group.

'We have been smiling ever since!'

Michael Wood, head of corporate purchasing unit

Leeds City Council - Unitary Council Category

'Being shortlisted for the annual SOPO award was welcome recognition of the success of 'counciltenders' - the e-tendering system that we have developed, and are using in conjunction with six other councils in the Yorkshire region.

'Being evaluated by one's peers - SOPO's role in promoting good practice in public sector procurement is well-known and that, coupled with the caliber of the judges, makes the award of the Winner's trophy very gratifying.

'Be assured, we shall refer to our 'award-winning ETS' in future promotions.'

Teddi Coutes, legal & democratic services

Exeter City Council - District Council Category

'Exeter City Council is thrilled to win the SOPO award for the Home Aid Partnership initiative and we feel this gives recognition to real benefits that can be achieved for the community.

'The success of the partnership was made possible by the joint efforts of all parties including, various council departments and outside agencies. At the same time this initiative demonstrates how simple but imaginative methods of procurement can make real savings.

'The award also reinforces Exeter in its mission to be the regional capital, working in partnership to improve the quality of life for all people living, working, and visiting the city.'

Joann Pearce, best value commercial officer

Kent Police - other public sector bodies category

'Winning a SOPO Award for Excellence in Procurement is a tremendous achievement on three counts. Firstly, it recognises the high level of hard work, dedication and professionalism of my procurement team. Secondly, it is a positive accolade for procurement within Kent Police, raising Procurement's profile throughout the organisation. Lastly, it demonstrates the ever increasing standard and development of police procurement on the national stage and I believe, it is a positive indication of the direction police procurement is taking.'

Janette Willetts, procurement manager

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