11 April 2022

Procurement training adds up for East Renfrewshire Council

Bespoke programme underpins development of council procurement team

In recent work with East Renfrewshire Council, a commercial lead from Scotland Excel worked closely with the council’s procurement service to work towards a more strategic procurement programme, focussing on building visible and productive relationships between procurement and other council services.  A key element of this was to better understand what procurement training requirements were across the organisation and develop an effective method of addressing these.

How Scotland Excel helped

Scott Gibson, Scotland Excel Business Change and Project Manager, became the commercial lead to work with East Renfrewshire Council’s procurement service.

The first step was for to undertake a survey to identify specific training needs to understand exactly what each individual or service needed from procurement training so Scotland Excel could deliver a focussed approach.

Scott explained: “We undertook a survey to identify training needs.  We often receive requests for ‘procurement training’ – but what does that actually mean? Is it low value quick quotes, high value tenders or something else?  It is really important to understand exactly what an individual or service provider needs.

“It is also an opportunity to build relationships with the team, help them appreciate the ‘added value’ of procurement in areas such as savings and benefits, sustainability, local economic development and community benefits.

“On the back of the survey in conjunction with the council, we developed a ‘procurement bitesize’ training programme – taking advantage of the workforce being at home on teams, so that training could be provided online in an hour. This is minimised resource requirements and extended our reach in comparison to traditional training.”

The bespoke programme for the council included:

  • Introduction to procurement
  • Quick quote
  • Managing a successful tender exercise
  • Capturing adding value from procurement
  • Strategic commissioning

Sandra Bisset, Category Manager at East Renfrewshire Council, managed the procurement training project as part of her successful Professional Development Award in Project Management. She said:

“We are always asked to provide procurement training but this time, taking advantage of Microsoft Teams, we were able to roll out short, targeted training to the services we work with on a daily basis.  It is rewarding to get positive feedback and it helps us better understand the needs of the services we work with to everyone’s benefit.”

Scott added: “Demand for the courses was phenomenal. We ran four sessions of some courses to satisfy demand and feedback was excellent.  Following on from these small but successful courses, the council will look at how they can formalise training – perhaps using e-learning platforms, but at the same time not losing the importance of building personal relationships with stakeholders”.


Scott Gibson, who led the East Renfrewshire programme said: “Procurement training gave us the opportunity to demonstrate visibility and the value of procurement across the council.  As well as reinforcing compliance we were able to gain appreciation of the wider benefits to the various services the procurement team works with to deliver the council’s priorities.”

James Adams, senior traffic officer at East Renfrewshire Council, said: “The procurement training really helped me appreciate the role procurement has in the council and how I can work with the procurement team to deliver my services.  As well as the regulations, I have a better understanding of the added value achieved from engagement with procurement as early as possible.”