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CPL Group Annual Report

Opening Comments

David Pullein

Nominated Chair

Welcome to this year's annual report for the Crescent Purchasing Group (CPL Group). It goes without saying that this has been a challenging year for all and I firstly want to commend the staff of Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC) and Tenet for the way they adapted to working remotely, always putting the members needs first.

CPL Group have continued to invest in the education sector and have targeted help to those who need it in these difficult times. As we hopefully navigate our way through this pandemic and come out the other side, CPC will be a constant in offering assistance to the education sector whether through purchasing frameworks or the services offered by Tenet.

What is clear to me as we hopefully near the end of the pandemic is that efficient purchasing and securing value for money has never been more important and Colleges and schools will see CPC as a trusted partner offering solutions to an ever-increasing funding problem.

Finally, can I offer my thanks to our valued customers and suppliers for their continued support and hope everyone has a prosperous and most importantly, safe period ahead.

2019/20 Highlights

2019/20 CPC Report

Managing Director Report

Peter Brewer

Managing Director

This will be my final annual report as I retire at the end of July 2021 after over 20 years of being a part of building the company into what it is today. We started with a total of 4 staff (who were also responsible for running the University of Salford Purchasing at the same time), just 9 FE colleges, borrowed NWUPC frameworks plus a visionary University Director of Finance, Ray Corner, who saw what the potential was. We have moved a long way from those days to a UK wide organisation serving the whole of the education sector and where we are now actually donating surplus back for the benefit of students and their institutions.

There have been many bumps in the road along the way which brings me nicely to what has probably been the biggest and most recent, COVID19. The Group are absolutely dependant on our own income as we do not get support from any Government bodies or our members and our financial resources were going to be a major concern. Thankfully, Tenet performed really well and the CPC part of the operation also did a lot better than expected, so much so that we emerged from the year with a small surplus.

I could dwell on the negatives of COVID19 but would very much prefer to concentrate on some positives which have come out of the crisis. The first is the marvellous adaptability of CPL Group staff. We were able to move to home working very quickly and had all the areas of CPL Group effectively working the day after we announced the change. Home working has been difficult for most, but it has led to a much more flexible working life balance for most staff with them now benefitting from changes to working practice policies for the future.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the work of Myles Woodman and Ekkehard Kugler who did sterling work after being seconded to the NHS to assist with purchasing for them in the first months of the crisis. Myles has also been providing an excellent service to the education sector providing weekly updates of stock of crucial PPE supplies to fight the epidemic.

I should now move onto other matters outside of the crisis. This year marked the start of the process of cash donations by CPL Group to Educational institutions for the benefit of students. There were some marvellous projects to which funds were provided and although interrupted by COVID, we will be resuming the gifting process in early 2021. This process is a source of great pride to me knowing that we are completely separate from the big private companies working in the Education sector in that we are handing over surplus for the benefit of the students.

This annual report must also mark the retirement of a major stalwart of CPC for many years, our contracting supremo Pat Condon. He has been a massive support and great friend to me over the past few years and has led the contracting team through a significant number of changes and challenges. One of his final projects has been the provision and launch of the e-learning procurement training system which is truly superb and which I am sure will be around as a testament to his skill for many years to come. He will be greatly missed by staff, me and the business.

Concluding Comments

The concluding paragraph of this report must be one of thanks for the partnerships in building up the Company. Initially I must recognise and thank all staff, past and current, for all their hard work and support through the years. I must also thank all past and current members of the CPL Group Board as well as partner organisations like NPG, NWUPC and TUCO. I thank all the suppliers who have worked with CPC through the years as part of the service delivery partnership. Finally and as always, I thank all our customers without whose support, CPL Group would not function.

I hand the torch over to my successor, Darren Lowe, who I know will do an excellent job leading this super organisation.

Contracting Business Report

Pat Condon

Head of Procurement

The Contracting Team experienced a demanding year with the introduction of several new frameworks as well as the retendering of existing frameworks.

These were all delivered which is testament to the professionalism and commitment of the team. I am also delighted to report that their camaraderie and support for each other as a team was exemplary particularly during such a difficult year.

New frameworks

  • CCTV Equipment & Maintenance The new framework has a strategic regional and national lotting structure allowing members to engage with local suppliers.
  • Fire Alarms Detection & Suppression Systems and Firefighting Equipment & Associated Supplies Collaborating with colleagues at NEUPC, CPC have produced the first end-to-end solution for an institutions complete fire safety requirement.
  • Synthetic Sports Surfaces This is a brand-new framework that will allow for the procurement and ongoing maintenance of sports surfaces across multiple uses within education.

Retendered frameworks

  • Audio Visual Equipment & Services Incorporating the latest technologies, this framework splits into 2 lots allowing for purchases for supply only and supply and installation of AV equipment and associated services depending on members individual requirements.
  • Data Centre Management & Infrastructure NEUPC led framework.
  • Fixed Wire Testing This framework is a retender of the previous framework with NWUPC.
  • Flooring Supplies and Services This framework has a wide range of flooring options available to all types of members.
  • ICT Hardware & Peripheral Services Building upon the success of the previous framework, this new framework has a multi-purpose lot and a number of call off tools to make purchasing through the framework easier for members.
  • Janitorial & Cleaning Chemicals Supply Building on its previous success this framework has more suppliers and now also incorporates Social Value delivered by all suppliers.
  • Mechanical Electrical & Building Fabric Maintenance This highly successful framework now contains a larger number of suppliers in all regions and offers more choice to all members.
  • Musical Instruments The new framework has been let with one dedicated supplier with over 60 years’ experience in the Education sector.
  • Photographic Equipment & Consumables A framework agreement offering a wide range of equipment and consumables.
  • Plumbing Sanitary & Heating Equipment The new framework has been let with one dedicated supplier with over 60 years’ experience in the Education sector.
  • PPE Clothing & Uniforms The framework has seen increased usage because of the pandemic and has so far supported over 130 members to ensure they stay safe and can continue to operate.
  • Recycling Bins & Street Furniture This framework has a simple lotting structure and has some of the best-known suppliers in the industry.
  • Security Services Building on the successes of previous iterations of this framework agreement, CPC are delighted to offer members a new framework covering a broad spectrum of Security Services. Whilst it has been centred around the needs of the education sector, it is also available to the wider public sector.

The Contracting Teams partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) went on hold during the year as a consequence of Covid19. 12 Frameworks remain supported and many of our other frameworks are under consideration for recommendation by the DfE. We look forward to the opportunities that this partnership will undoubtedly bring for the organisation.


2019/20 saw our team of Regional Procurement Advisors transition to Microsoft Teams meetings with our members but still providing hands on support on how to use our framework agreements. The team continue to provide guidance on what to include in specifications and how to conduct tender processes as well as advising members on the application of procurement regulations and raising the profile of procurement within their institutions.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that Jo Frost who leads the team with distinction will be our new Head of Communications with effect from August 2020 and both I and all the team give our heartfelt thanks to Jo for her contribution as an RPA and look forward to her contribution in her new role.

Crescent Learning

Supporting the fulfilment of our charitable objectives, Crescent Learning (CL) was created by CPC to deliver a range of training services and resources for our members. The key activities delivered through CL during the year were as follows:

  • CPD accredited E-Learning training The highlight of the year was the launch of our fully CPD accredited E-Learning training programme covering the fundamental principles of good procurement in education. One hundred members in the first two months after launch enrolled into the programme giving some excellent feedback. We look forward to many more of our members taking advantage of this free resource and to offering additional courses in the future.
  • £25k training investment A number of CPD accredited courses were made available to members at zero cost representing a £25k investment from the business.
  • Maintenance of and access to FELP FELP is our online resource hosting a wide range of procurement related help and support aimed at guiding buyers through the procurement cycle as well as offering additional related best practice information.

2019/20 Highlights

Tenet Education Services

2019/20 Report

Darren Lowe

Managing Director

Tenet has been operational throughout 2019/20 with demand from customers continuing throughout the national lockdown. Tenet’s two core procurement services have both exceeded the previous year’s income, which is exceptional under the circumstances.

CPL Group will be a constant in offering assistance to the education sector as we hopefully navigate our way through this pandemic and come out the other side, whether through purchasing frameworks or the services offered by Tenet.

Managed Procurement Contracts

The team supported 43 contracts nationwide. Provision of days on-site at each contract ranged from 0.5 to 5 days per week. Adjustments to the normal practice of delivering our services within our customers organisation was required part way through the year. The availability of the latest IT systems and a flexible attitude from the team ensured we quickly adapted to new working practices and all our customers continued to receive a full service.

The enhanced support received from Tenet is delivered by regional teams of procurement professionals and a network of 35 procurement colleagues, all of whom are employed by Tenet and based around the country. This range of expertise allows for the sharing of knowledge and best practice to the benefit of our customers.

On Demand Procurement Support

The demand for this service has increased during 2019/20, with 64% of the income coming from the school and academy marketplace. The growth was projected to be higher however the COVID19 pandemic resulted in some confirmed projects being postponed until the 2020/21 financial year (at the request of the customer).

The grant funding from the CPL Group has helped many customers to gain extremely competitively priced procurement support from Tenet via the subsidised procurement consultancy fund.

2019/20 Highlights

Tenet Procurement Services

Tenet Procurement Services focuses on delivering procurement support to organisations outside the education sector. Tenet delivered projects within the housing sector and supported a well-known high street fashion retailer to tender a cleaning service for 300+ stores across the UK.

Customers using Tenet Procurement Services are not from the education sector but all fully support the charitable ethos of the business and the benefits it brings to their organisation in the development of their future workforce.

Concluding Comments

The financial year produced a good return and enabled the CPL Group to benefit from additional funds to support their charitable objectives.

Tenet Education Services and Tenet Procurement Services fully support the work of the education sector. Donating 100% of our surplus to CPL Group ensures as much money as possible is retained within the sector.

The education sector continues to support Tenet and for this we are truly grateful. The forthcoming year offers more opportunities for Tenet and CPC to combine resources and deliver further improvements to the services we already deliver.

Financial Report

CPL Group 2019/20

Dave Owen

CPL Group Finance Manager

CPL Group income fell this year as a direct result of the national lockdown and in particular the closure of educational establishments during the Spring and Summer.

Although Tenet contracts were able to continue with relatively little disruption the impact on the charity was greater as framework activity diminished considerably in the final quarter of the financial year.

CPL Group was able to survive this period without the need for any staff reduction and with minimal use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme introduced by the Chancellor. We acknowledge that many companies have not been so fortunate and put this down to having excellent levels of cash and revenue reserves alongside a robust financial business model.

During the year we continued to honour our promise to reinvest surplus back into the education sector with over £325k being spent primarily in the form of grants to fund student activities and welfare. Furthermore, in November 2019 the Board committed a further £500k into the free reserves fund for further reinvestment.

The balance of funds available for reinvestment was £657k at the year end and whilst projects have been placed on hold whilst we concentrated on protecting cashflow through the year we feel confident that funds can start to be released during 2021.

Swipe left on table to scroll through information

Income 2020£ 2019£ (restated) Assets 2020£ 2019£ (restated)
Charitable activities 3,430,942 3,591,455 Goodwill 490,000 615,000
Investments 15,658 11,339 Other fixed assets 163,566 89,162
Total income 3,446,600 3,602,794 Net current assets 3,537,272 3,499,487
Operational Expenditure 3,445,934 3,107,285 Provision for liabilities (2,425,000) (616,000)
Operational Net income 666 495,509 Total Net Assets 1,765,838 3,587,649
Reinvestment to sector 325,477 17,785
Net income (324,811) 477,724 Financed by
Revenue reserves 3,534,100 3,721,434
Designated reserves 656,738 482,215
Actuarial (loss)/gain on defined benefit pension schemes (1,497,000) (558.000) Pension (2,425,000) (616,000)
Net movement in funds (1,821,811) (80,276) Total reserves 1,765,838 3,587,649

Concluding Comments

Looking ahead, the Group has sufficient reserves and cash to withstand events such as experienced during 2020 though the impact has resulted in a much more cautious approach to the 5-year business plan and budgets. Thresholds have been put into place should income levels drop again which will trigger appropriate responses to enable business continuity.

2019/20 Highlights

Directors and Trustees

The directors of the charitable company (“the charity”) are its trustees for the purpose of charity law and throughout this report are collectively referred to as the trustees.

Nominated Chair

  • D N Pullein, Vice Principal - Finance and Resources, Leeds College of Building

Trustees and Directors

  • J C Bentley, Executive Director of Finance & Estates, Hopwood Hall College
  • P Brewer, Managing Director, CPC
  • N Cassidy, Procurement Manager, Cambridge Regional College (Chair of Purchasing Advisory Group)
  • A Comyn, Chief Officer Finance and Resources, Dudley College of Technology
  • J Howard, Director of Estates, Wakefield College
  • L Jenkins, Deputy Principal Finance and Resources, North Kent College
  • P Kane, Deputy Head of Estate, Belfast Metropolitan College
  • R Kilcoyne, Head of Procurement, Leeds City College (Purchasing Advisory Group)
  • D N Pullein, Vice Principal - Finance and Resources, Leeds College of Building


  • K O’Connor, Head of Marketing, Capital City College Group

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