Consortiwn Pwrcasu Addysg Bellach Cymru (CPABC)
The mission of the Welsh Further Education Purchasing Consortium (WFEPC) is to make a recognised and measurable contribution to the success of the Welsh FE sector through professional procurement practices.
The WFEPC was established 12 years ago by Coleg Sir Gâr in response to the National Audit Office (NAO) findings on value for money and probity in the procurement of goods and services in institutions in Wales. The consortium was subsequently held by the NAO to be ‘the most significant development in procurement in the sector’, with the recommendation that it continued to build on its success in developing further contracts and establishing and promoting best practice procurement to further education (FE) institutions.
Since then consortium has been incorporated into ColegauCymru/CollegesWales. It reports annually to the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES) on WFEPC savings made across the sector and other pertinent issues that are measured by the Welsh Government such as sustainable procurement.
The WFEPC has a representational role with Value Wales, to ensure the FE sector’s requirements are taken into consideration when working with collaborative groups on various procurement initiatives for ‘all Wales’ projects.
In addition, the consortium has been instrumental in progressing Value Wales initiatives within the FE sector. For example, all institutions have now received information on and signed up to the Sustainable Procurement Assessment Framework (SPAF) through a programme of visits by the WFEPC. Further work to establish and share any best practice resulting from this is expected in the future.
All FE institutions in Wales are members of the consortium, the structure of which includes a Steering Group to oversee strategic direction. The group consists of a small number of representatives from Finance, Procurement and Estates. The Chair, who is a college Principal, reports on progress to the ColegauCymru Board.
The WFEPC Procurement Group sits under the Steering Group and comprises of procurement representatives from each institution. This group’s remit is to discuss the various procurement issues and operational developments and to promote these within their college.
The WFEPC Contract Managers’ Group consists of a small number of Procurement Officers from colleges who have agreed to manage collaborative frameworks on behalf of WFEPC members. The colleges benefit as there is a reduction in the cost of their subscription; and Contract Managers benefit by receiving additional professional development from training opportunities, networking and sharing best practice.
- Working with examination boards to establish what savings can be achieved, including process efficiency savings. Much work has already been done and it is hoped that, subject to further discussions, outcomes will filter down to members shortly.
- Establishing what other major spend areas exist for members so that, where appropriate, these can be addressed collaboratively.
- The Annual Report on progress for 2010/11 will be available in September.
- The WFEPC website http://www.wfepc.com is currently being reviewed to ensure it continues to meet members’ needs.
- The consortium is working closely with Value Wales by representing the sector on the various projects resulting from the ‘Buying Smarter in Tougher Times’ report .
Savings already achieved & projected
- Cash savings of over £12m have been achieved for the sector since figures were first recorded in 2002.
- The ratio of costs against savings has improved significantly over the years; and for the period 2009/10 stood at 34:1 equating to a saving of £34 for members for every £1 invested as subscription.
- Recorded savings do not include any ‘added value’ figures or any process savings resulting from avoiding individually tendering for contracts. If these were included total savings would be considerably higher.
- Savings for the current year are expected to be approximately the same as the previous which were reported as over £3m.