8 April 2022

Service delivered to enhance strategic procurement skills within council

We worked closely with one of our member councils to tailor a training and development package

The challenge

With over a decade’s experience in commissioning and procurement, many people may not be aware that Scotland Excel is also able to share its expertise through consultancy work.

This is a bespoke service to work closely with a council or an associate member, which involves identifying what needs to be reviewed, setting objectives and implementing the best way to manage change for the benefit for all involved.

One of the main challenges is to ensure that the investment in training and development is correctly prioritised to reflect the needs of the team and the future direction of procurement in the council.

One council which asked Scotland Excel to undertake a procurement review was East Renfrewshire Council. It wanted to ensure its procurement staff had the skills and capability required for a strategic approach to procurement and to identify and fill any identified skills gaps as individuals and across the team.

In some cases like this one, Scotland Excel can provide a commercial lead to work with the organisation so they can focus on what could be improved or changed.

Scott Gibson, Scotland Excel Business Change and Project Manager, Customer Development worked with East Renfrewshire Council as commercial lead.

How Scotland Excel helped

First steps were that each member of the procurement team member at the council completed a self-evaluation profile via the Scottish Government’s National Procurement Development Framework.

This can be used to assess skills, identify training needs and support career planning. It reflects the Scottish procurement context and aligns to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) global standards.

It can be used to:

  • self-assess skills
  • identify training and development needs
  • help with career planning and personal development

Scott reviewed and collated evaluations to prioritise areas for development which matched the specific needs and aspirations of the council.

Once skills gaps and training needs were identified, Scotland Excel developed and delivered a bespoke training programme via the Scotland Excel Academy.

One area in particular - project management - was identified as a key requirement and provided an opportunity to align live projects in the Scotland Excel Procurement Review to individual team members.  This allowed each team member to undertake the SQA Accredited Professional Development Award in Project Management, offered by the Academy, while also working on their project. 

The projects covered contract and supplier management, community benefits, council-wide procurement training and the development of an online contracts register.

The course was delivered on-site by Scott, who is an experienced project manager and aligned the course delivery to the practical projects involved in the procurement review.

The outcome 

On completion of their training programme, the team achieved an accredited qualification while at the same time delivered key procurement projects that were critical to the implementation of a new strategic procurement approach. 

The team continue to use the tools and techniques they learned during the programme within their day-to-day roles.  

The Scotland Excel Academy runs open courses in Personal Development Award (PDA) in Project Management throughout the year.  The programme can also be offered to members as part of procurement improvement or consultancy project.  

Client feedback

Sean Skelton, Category Manager, East Renfrewshire Council, said: “The Professional Development Award Project Management was a great experience as it allowed me to achieve a qualification whilst working on a project I was leading on in my role. The course was practical and provided me with tools and techniques which I now use regularly. As the course was delivered directly to our team, we were able to focus on practical project examples relating to our procurement and local government environment.”