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Public sector collaborative procurement: UK professional buying organisations

What are professional buying organisations?

In the past, collaborative procurement organisations (or purchasing consortia) meant a group of two or more buying organisations coming together to combine their purchasing power and volume in order to obtain more competitive pricing for the goods and services they required. This has evolved over the years and now it is the professional buying organisations such as Crown Commercial Services (CCS), ESPO and NHS SBS who put in place and manage contracts and frameworks for commonly purchased goods and services which can be accessed by most UK public sector organisations, saving the public sector huge amounts of money.

Which are the main ones?

Some specialise in their particular sector and some have agreements in place for the same goods or services but with a specific difference to reflect their sector’s needs better (eg. stationery in the local authority sector would have heavy focus on school stationery). The following is a list of the main UK public sector professional buying organisations which put into place collaborative procurement frameworks:

Crown Commercial Services (CCS)

Eastern Shires Procurement Organisation (ESPO)

Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO)

North Eastern Purchasing Organisation (NEPO)

Southern Universities Procurement Consortium (SUPC)

North West Universities Procurement Consortium (NWUPC)

Advanced Procurement Universities Consortium Scotland (APUC)

London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC)

Northern Housing Consortium

Scottish Procurement

Scotland Excel

NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS)

NHS National Procurement Scotland

NHS Procurement Wales

National Procurement Service Wales

Northern Ireland Procurement

Procurement and Logistics Service Northern Ireland (PaLS)

How to find out which one would procure your services

This should be quite straightforward in theory. Each one of these bodies will have a list of existing framework agreements on their website so the relevant research can be undertaken that way. You can identify when the current framework agreements are coming to an end and then start engaging with the buyer. If it’s a brand-new agreement (ie. if there is no existing framework agreement) they should advertise this through the usual routes, so if you have your searches set up appropriately on the tender opportunity portals you have registered with, you will receive notification. Many of the above collaborative procurement organisations (aside from those in Scotland, Wales and NI) will have their opportunities advertised on Contracts Finder and/or Pro-Contract.

If you would like to know more about any aspect of winning public sector contracts, please contact me for a no obligation chat. I’m on +44 (0) 1202 237506 or email You can also download my free ebook ‘Four Key Steps to Winning Your Next Public Sector Bid’ for more information about the vital pre-bid stage of researching, engaging and influencing the buyer.

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