17 March 2022

Scotland Excel consultancy: Tayside Transformation Programme

We take a look at the success of our work to realise savings, efficiency, cost avoidance and social value


Scotland’s local government sector is continuously looking for ways to improve efficiencies in how resources are used, and how to strengthen ways the sector can collaborate.

In June 2019, Scotland Excel was commissioned by councils in the Tayside region to lead a commercial excellence partnership programme, known as Procurement and Commissioning Tayside (PACT) involving Dundee, Angus and Perth & Kinross Councils, as well as the shared services of Tayside Contracts and Tayside Procurement Consortium (TPC).

There are five individual procurement teams in Tayside and the aim of the programme was to strengthen the collaborative approach to procurement and determine how best they should work together in the future.

The programme plan for Scotland Excel consisted of a number of individual projects under the headings of collaborative contracting, process improvement, contract and supplier management, systems and information and organisational development.

The Challenges

The programme had a complex stakeholder group comprising of senior leaders, procurement teams and budget holders. The three councils also host shared procurement activity under Tayside Contracts and the Tayside Procurement Consortium. 

The pandemic caused significant disruption to the operation of the programme. The impact pf Covid-19 on ways of working necessarily changed the needs of the board and senior leaders. The focus of procurement functions was diverted to responding to urgent needs of local communities arising from the global pandemic.

What we did

Scotland Excel put together a programme team under the leadership of Mary Mitchell, Scotland Excel’s Strategic Programme Manager who said:

“The delivery of the programme was very much a partnership approach with Scotland Excel and Tayside stakeholders working closely together. Over the course of the two years, a variety of opportunities for improvement were identified and accepted by the PACT board with the post-programme focus being on the three areas which are facilities management, fleet management and roads maintenance.

“A big part of our work involved benefits realisation which focused on capturing benefits once identified and monitoring their impact. We had three classifications: financial savings, cost avoidance and efficiency and social value.

“We broke this down into ways of benefit tracking such as implementing an opportunity benefits planner, standardised contract strategy, KPIs and scorecards, data, statutory reporting and more efficient working practices.

“Using the information from the work completed under the programme, we were able to identify opportunities for up to £9.8m of savings and efficiencies for the Tayside partnership.

“The benefits detailed will come from areas ranging from collaborative contracting, process improvement, systems and information, organisational development and contract and supplier management. Contained with our work and close off reports are detailed accounts of the opportunities available to the partnership, how to convert these opportunities and the tools that have been provided to not only achieve the opportunities but to track the benefits and enable efficient and effective contract management.”

The five individual projects used by the Scotland Excel team to assist the Tayside partnership were:

  1. Collaborative Contracting

The project reviewed the processes used to develop and agree which contracts are suitable for collaboration. It aimed to prioritise contracting work and identify the appropriate level of resourcing required.


The partnership approved the use of the new toolkit provided to plan and manage the collaborative contracting work carried out in Tayside.

  1. Process Improvement

The project aimed to embed common ways of working on procurement activity. It provided a library of templates which would be used consistently across Tayside.


The partnership now has a library of standardised procurement documentation and terms and conditions.

  1. Contract and Supplier Management (CSM)

The project reviewed the approach taken to CSM in Tayside, referring to existing good practice and to project work already undertaken. The project aimed to devise a CSM tool kit to provide a framework for CSM practices to be built around.


A CSM tool which can be used to improve the quality of monitoring and supplier development in Tayside.

  1. Systems and Information

This project considered the systems landscape currently in use with a view to capturing relevant data for the management of procured spend.


The partnership agreed to explore investment in analytics tools to maximise the use of existing data.

  1. Organisational Development

The project focused on the changes required to build team cohesion, develop individual effectiveness and enhance management arrangements.


The partnership will continue to foster closer working, embedding joint training, collaborative communication and strengthening links between the teams.

The programme’s key statistics

  • During the first six months of the programme, Scotland Excel completed 108 interviews with key stakeholders and used that feedback to ensure the programme of work was on the right track.  
  • The collaborative approach considered the work of 5 teams, involving around 40 people in procurement roles. 
  • The contract portfolio across Tayside values at approximately £600m of spend every year with opportunities for review applying to 35% of that number. 
  • One of the challenges set for the programme team was to look for savings potential. 
  • There were options found which amounted to around £9.4m of benefit from 244 possible changes.  
  • The programme plan itself included 135 tasks.
  • We tracked 19 risks, explored and closed 6 issues which came up.
  • As the programme concluded, Scotland Excel had 1256 days of activity, 5 improvement projects with 31 recommendations for future development.  

What the PACT Board said

Ian Lorimer on behalf of the PACT Board: “As you know the project we’ve been working on for the past 2 years has just come to an end with just a few final pieces of information being prepared as part of the final handover. It’s been quite a journey, thanks to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped us doing a huge amount of very valuable work and I wanted to, on behalf of the PACT Board, express my sincere thanks for the hard work and excellent support provided during the project. The professionalism, flexibility and expertise from the whole Scotland Excel team involved in the project was evident from start to finish and provided me with the assurance and support I and the Board needed.”