11 April 2022

PCIP can be a game changer for housing sector procurement

Kingdom and Glasgow West Housing Associations talk about their positive experiences with PCIP

Public procurement is a valuable function that’s delivered across the entire public sector - and it is assessed, measured and improved by the Procurement and Commercial Improvement Programme (PCIP).

Scotland Excel offers a PCIP assessment to each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities and to our 100 plus public service members, which include a significant number of housing associations. The PCIP is an evidence-based assessment tool that develops procurement capability, identifies financial savings opportunities and other social, economic and environmental benefits as part of a continuous improvement programme within an organisation.     

How it works

The focus of PCIP is on the policies and procedures driving procurement performance and the results they deliver. Scotland Excel can carry out a review designed to assess Scottish public sector performance using a uniform set of questions as benchmarks and produce a bespoke improvement report of the result achieved

The report can be used by the organisation to see how it can improve its continuous procurement journey in a way that will enable it to establish best practice. Each local authority, housing association and others who have a procurement responsibility may then use the results as the basis for improving procurement capability across the organisation, determining the priorities for the coming year and allocating resources to deliver these.  

PCIP enables an organisation to see exactly where its spend has taken place, to decide how to secure further improvement and aim to have it implemented by the next assessment.

What happens next

The programme is run by Colin Taylor, Housing Services Manager in the Housing team at Scotland Excel.  He explains: “The service has become a well-honed programme that has continuously evolved since its inception in 2015.  

“Once an organisation understands how its money has been spent and where, it enables clear insight for decision making. When the whole organisation embraces the benefits to be had from procurement improvement, it can make a significant contribution to the way the organisation operates.”

From there, using Scotland Excel’s range of construction frameworks can be economically benefit no matter where the housing need is new build, housing refit, tenancy repairs and other building work.  

Two housing associations who have used PCIP are Glasgow West Housing Association and Kingdom Housing Association.  

Kingdom Housing Association

Calum Kippen, Head of Governance and Organisational Support at Kingdom Housing Association said: “We found the PCIP process extremely useful. It allowed us to focus on our procurement process and performance against a set of standards and measures.  

“Scotland Excel visited our offices and reviewed our procurement practises, they highlighted good practice and offered advice and assistance on areas of improvement. This allowed us to put in place a clear procurement improvement action plan across all departments of the organisation to continue to strive and improve on our PCIP score going forward. 

“We have benefited from our membership of Scotland Excel; we have access to all their procurement frameworks covering all part of our business. Being able to call off these frameworks removes the procurement risk involved in setting up and contract managing your own frameworks and the economies of scale ensure greater value for money.  Through Scotland Excel we can also access advice and support services. An additional benefit is the enhanced assurance provided in respect of procurement compliance.

“We would encourage all Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) to undertake a PCIP with Scotland Excel. We look forward to welcoming Colin and the team back to improve on our PCIP score!”

Glasgow West Housing Association

Daniel Wedge, Technical Director of Glasgow West Housing Association (GWHA), described how the association has found the PCIP so useful, that they have now used it twice.

“GWHA first took part in the PCIP process early 2019. There was an initial briefing meeting with Colin, who took time to set out the context and benefit of taking part; and went on to give an overview of the evaluation stage, and the benchmarking criteria. I’d encourage others uncertain about the process to take these first steps.

“The early conversations effectively started us on our own self-assessment against the four key drivers and gave us the opportunity to collate our supporting evidence, ready for the PCIP review. On the day of the evaluation Colin and his team conversationally talked us through the criteria as we brought our supporting evidence up on the projector.

“The summary report from Scotland Excel served as a sense check and validation of our processes and procedures; highlighting areas of good practice and gave us a framework for measuring systems enhancement. The process established a strong baseline “mark”, which provided independent reassurance to our Management Committee, and promoted conversations about further opportunities to improve upon the initial “mark” by involving teams across our services.

“Jumping forward to December 2020 we invited Colin and his colleagues back to GWHA. This second evaluation; mid-pandemic, other than being carried out over Microsoft Teams, followed a very similar format. The focus of this conversation was on areas of the initial PCIP report that GWHA had decided to take forward and develop over the interim period as part of our improvement plan.

“The enhanced “mark” awarded in December 2020 served to recognise GWHA’s organisation-wide robust governance in relation to our day-to-day procedures, procurement, and supplier management. The process has been considered a valuable tool by our Management Committee in the context of demonstrating compliance with our regulatory responsibilities.

“The PCIP process will be different for each organisation that takes part, with real opportunities for those that take the first step in the initial self-assessment and evidence gathering before the evaluation”.