Cohort Followers Session

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Reflecting on Our First Cohort Followers Session

This year, we launched the follower sessions to drive forward a new era of innovation in procurement strategies within local authorities. As part of the broader IPEC Cohort programme, designed to address the growing need for effective and value-driven procurement practices amidst increasing demands and shrinking budgets, our aim is clear: to empower local authorities with the knowledge, tools, and strategies necessary to innovate their procurement processes. Through fostering a community of learning and collaboration, we strive to enhance the capabilities of procurement teams to deliver better outcomes for their communities.

In our inaugural session, we embarked on a journey to reshape procurement strategies through innovation. The session had a clear agenda: to provide an overview of the IPEC programme, share insights from work with four local authorities, and discuss the initial steps taken towards innovative procurement strategies.

IPEC’s mission to accelerate innovation in urban and transport systems through impartial innovation services was underscored. The discussion stressed the critical need for innovative approaches in local authority procurement, given that authorities spend approximately £70 billion annually on goods and services. Despite rising demands and shrinking budgets, there has been an undue focus on cost at the expense of value, highlighting the urgent need for a more strategic procurement approach.

Debunking Myths and Encouraging New Approaches

In the world of local governance, initiatives like the IPEC programme are lighting the way towards more collaborative and effective strategies. With a focus on academic partnerships, stakeholder engagement, and the creation of online communities, this programme is on a mission to equip local authorities with the tools they need to thrive.

At a recent session, participants delved deep into the core components of empowerment support for local authorities. From challenge scoping to stakeholder engagement, from business case development to SME involvement, every aspect was carefully dissected. The overarching message? Clarity is key. By defining problems clearly and setting goals that are both achievable and ambitious, innovative solutions can emerge organically from within the market.

One of the most illuminating parts of the session was the discussion around engaging with tech corporations and SMEs. With startups proliferating in certain sectors, finding the right approach to SME engagement is crucial. The conversation emphasised the importance of striking a balance between market engagement and understanding the unique challenges faced by local authorities. It’s about finding that sweet spot where effective interventions can make the most impact.

In the ever-evolving landscape of local governance, initiatives like the IPEC programme are leading the charge towards more collaborative, innovative, and ultimately, more effective solutions.

The ‘Followers’ session established a firm groundwork for the IPEC programme, highlighting the necessity of shifting towards value-driven procurement strategies and the critical role of innovation in addressing challenges within the public sector. As aptly put by one of the participants,

“With budgets consistently shrinking, it’s crucial to rethink our approach to procurement. Maximising the value of every pound spent is essential to relieve the strain on our already tight budgets. This involves shifting towards value-driven procurement strategies and recognising the critical role…”

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In this session with Nick Talbot, thought leaders and experts in local governance came together to share their unique case studies and insights on fostering collaboration and driving innovation in public procurement.


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