Liverpool SME Procurement Facilitation Project – Conclusions and Recommendations Workshop

The Liverpool SME procurement facilitation project ran from Feb 2010 to March 2011 and worked with 49 Liverpool based SMEs, including several Social Enterprises.  RLK Partnerships and CoSE won the contract to provide public sector tendering support for Liverpool City Council.

Following its success, and in order to maximise the investment in this project, RLK Partnerships produced a Procurement Recommendations Report Extract, documenting the key findings and making recommendations to help overcome the barriers faced by SMEs.

Rosemary of RLK Partnerships felt it would be useful to bring together procurement and commissioning professionals from different sectors, to look at the findings and recommendations, and identify next steps. So she organised a discussion for the key participants, supported by Liverpool Vision.

A ‘Discussion on findings of Procurement Facilitation Project’ was held at Toxteth Annex on Tuesday (10th January), with participants including:

  • Representatives from Liverpool City Council Procurement, Finance, Regeneration, and Adult Commissioning departments
  • Several local councillors
  • Procurement and commissioning representatives from South Liverpool Housing, Plus Dane Group, Liverpool Housing Trust, Riverside Housing
  • Business support professionals from Liverpool Vision.
  • Representatives of Liverpool PCT and  Merseyside Social Enterprise Network

The event consisted of facilitated discussion groups covering the following two questions:

  • Do all parties agree with the findings and the recommendations in the report?
  • How do we act on the recommendations to gain the maximum impact from the investment in this project?

In the group I facilitated there was a really good discussion, and it was interesting how much the approaches of different organisations differed. I could definitely see ideas being picked up from one sector to be used in another, and the feedback indicates that participants found the cross-sectoral pollination very useful. Having councillors round the table was also a definite plus – they could give the overview on policy, and identified ‘joined-up’ actions to carry forward.

All in all, it was a really productive session, with several solid, practical actions to take forward. I’m looking forward to the follow-up report.