26 April 2021

Fife Council Procurement Transformation

We worked closely with one of Scotland's largest councils to boost their transformation programme and deliver savings


In 2018, Fife Council recognised a need for change and engaged Scotland Excel to support procurement transformation as part of its wider Enabling Change Transformation Programme.

The Fife Council Procurement Transformation Programme started in September 2018 with a Scotland Excel team based within the council. It was designed with two key aims:

Achieve robust return on investment for Fife Council by delivering financial savings of £16m over three years.

Improve procurement and commercial skills of Fife Council officers through knowledge transfer.

It was crucial to deliver sustainable change to ensure the success of the procurement function beyond the duration of the programme, and to support Fife Council in its future commercial ambitions.

It was envisaged that the Scotland Excel team would be based in the organisation for two years and the third year of the programme would be delivered  by the council itself with the skills and knowledge acquired (with remote support from Scotland Excel where required.)

The work we took forward

The delivery of the programme was very much a partnership approach with Scotland Excel and Fife Council working closely together.

Over the course of the two years, a variety of areas were covered and outputs were delivered, including:

Benefits Realisation Policy

This defined different types of benefits and improved the process for recognition and reporting of benefits.

Opportunity Pipeline

This tracked potential opportunities for savings and benefits and recorded the detail of any potential opportunity.

Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

To deliver proactive and proportionate stakeholder engagement with the aim of improving relationships.

Contract & Supplier Management Guidance Manual and Tools

Demand Management Process

Contract Review Decision Process

This assessed the risk in negotiating an option to extend on a contract, in return for a financial saving over the contract extension period.

Completion of the National Procurement Development Framework

This supported the team in completing the framework and provided analysis of the results.

Knowledge Transfer Sessions

The content of these sessions was based upon the analysis of the National Procurement Development Framework results and included competency areas such as Negotiation Skills, Risk Management and Commercial Awareness.

Delivery of the programme also included access to virtual resource from Scotland Excel, supporting the development and delivery of various workstreams. This allowed the Scotland Excel staff with the best skill set, knowledge and experience to transfer knowledge to council officers.

Challenges and lessons learned

Access to spend data and reports created some slight delays at the beginning of the programme. Data is crucial at the outset to allow initial analysis to be undertaken and potential opportunities highlighted for further investigation and development.

Appetite for change presented a challenge throughout the programme but this was mitigated with a robust communications plan and with support from the internal Fife Council programme team.

Aims and outcomes

Aim 1 - Identify £16m financial savings over 3 years

£8,051m Delivered

£8,313m Identified on the Opportunity Pipeline

£16,346m Achieved in 2 years

Aim 2 - Improve the Procurement and Commercial Skills of the Procurement Team

Knowledge Transfer sessions addressed 14 competencies

A review evidenced improvement in all (except two) of the competencies (which stayed the same and were delivered as ‘refresh’ sessions)

Stakeholder Views

In 2018, 83% of senior stakeholders expressed a negative view of procurement.

In 2020, 90% of senior stakeholders expressed a positive view when asked about the type of interaction their service has with the procurement team.

The overall outcome is a procurement team which has an improved knowledge and skill set and is delivering substantial financial savings for the organisation - an organisation that values them.

Fife Council’s Head of Revenue and Commercial Services, Les Robertson said: “By applying an external perspective, Scotland Excel assisted in laying the platform which enabled the team to improve both in terms of processes and assisting in the development of the whole procurement function within Fife Council and this will continue to return on investment well beyond the three years of the transformation programme.”