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CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Opening Comments

David Pullein

Nominated Chair

Welcome to this year’s annual report for the Crescent Purchasing Limited Group (CPL Group). I started the opening comment in the 2020/21 report by acknowledging the challenging year we all experienced and commending the staff of Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC) and Tenet for their adaptation to changing work methods and their customer service during the difficult time. Reflecting on the financial year 2020/21, it too provided its own challenges. Covid-19 continued to be the main discussion point during many conversations. Adaptations to the way CPL Group delivered services were still necessary and yet the CPL team continually looked for ways to improve and strive towards delivering the Charity’s mission statement of providing outstanding procurement services to members and clients.

Throughout the year 2020/21, the CPL Group has continued to deliver the Charity’s objectives of providing procurement services to the education sector, promoting good practice, and enhancing and improving the sector’s procurement activities, whilst also advancing education and research in procurement. The various procurement teams across the CPL Group have been strengthened with additional resources and training, an investment which is designed to meet the demands of our members and clients and improve the procurement services offered. In the year the CPL Group has also reviewed the learning and development opportunities for our members to ensure we are advancing education in procurement. Colleagues are focused on ensuring that learning and development opportunities offered by CPL Group are relevant and up to date.

In April 2021, Darren Lowe was appointed as the Managing Director of the CPL Group. Darren replaced Peter Brewer, who had held the post since the formation of CPC in 1999. Peter retired from his post in August 2021. I wish to offer Darren my support in his role and Peter a long and healthy retirement.

This opening comment will be my final duty as nominated chair to the CPL Group. In November 2021, after over 13 years, I stepped down and have been replaced by Andrew Comyn - Deputy Chief Executive & Chief Financial Officer of Nottingham College. It has been a privilege to have been Chair and I now look forward to continuing my support to the CPL Group as a Trustee. The growth of the CPL Group over the years I have been involved as a Trustee and Chair has been significant and I am and continue to be, very proud to be involved. The acquisition of Tenet in 2017 was the biggest single investment the Charity had made and four years on, the donation of 100% of any profits made by Tenet, to the Charity each year has confirmed that the investment was the right decision made by the Board on behalf of the education sector. The Charity continues to invest funds back into the education with many members having benefitted not just from the various procurement services, but also the grant funding which has been provided to support the enhancement of teaching and learning across the education sector.

I wish to end by thanking members and suppliers who by engaging in the procurement services offered by CPL Group support the work towards our vision of becoming the procurement services partner of choice and through our work, help the sector to enhance teaching and learning. The funding provided by the Charity to enable exciting and innovative teaching opportunities would not be possible without your support.

My final comments are to the staff of CPL Group, who have again been magnificent in the most difficult of circumstances. The trustees are most grateful and look forward to happier times ahead.

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Managing Director Report

Darren Lowe

Managing Director CPL Group

The continued uncertainty caused by the pandemic during 2020/21 has meant that procurement skills within the education sector have never been more important. Changes to working practices and the impact on goods and service contracts has meant that staff with procurement responsibilities have had to be pro-active and make changes to existing agreements and in some cases had to re-negotiate changes to contract delivery and terms. Some changes have required ethical decisions having to be made about changes to the delivery patterns, specification, and associated costs whilst making sure that the impact on the organisation’s future supply chain is not damaged.

CPL Group are a procurement focused Charity, and we aspire to deliver a not-for-profit one-stop-shop procurement solution to assist our members and customers in their day-to-day management of procurement activities. Our vision is to become your procurement service partner of choice and help you to enhance teaching and learning within your organisation. We support this vision by offering various procurement support services, with each one providing a different solution, ensuring whatever our members and customers’ needs are, we can add value.

The 2020/21 year passed with headlines relating to the pandemic appearing throughout. No one predicted the impact of the pandemic, and we are still living in an ever-changing world. CPL Group worked throughout the year providing the very best service to our members and customers, driven by our desire to offer outstanding support and assist the education sector in the continued delivery of education nationwide. In addition to the procurement support offered by CPL Group, we continued to offer a range of learning and development opportunities with many members benefitting from the free training. Within the Charity, the CPL Group have embraced change brought on by the pandemic and adopted a long-term agile working strategy, wherever possible. We have taken important steps to prepare for the recovery and future proofed finances. Colleagues across CPL Group have continued to utilise technology to support members and customers, with Microsoft Teams having become an essential tool to not only maintain open dialogue with colleagues, members, and customers, but to also assist in our desire to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing travel.

I am a great believer that procurement is a vital service in every educational establishment. Better procurement improves the value for money gained from the purchase of goods and services. Better value for money increases the quality, the service and ideally reduces, or avoids an increase, in cost. With any improvement in the quality of goods and service and cost management, an educational establishment is better equipped to enhance teaching and learning, which is essentially our mutual end goal.

Commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion

The CPL Group earned Great Place to Work certified status for its high-trust workplace culture in May 2021. CPL Group followed up the accreditation, in August 2021, by being ranked 14th place in the medium sized company category for Best Workplaces for Women. More information on equality, diversity and inclusion is provided within the People and Culture section of the report.

Acknowledgment of service

Many stakeholders of CPL Group will have had the pleasure of being supported by Pat Condon, during his tenure as Head of Procurement. In February 2021 Pat left CPL Group to commence early retirement. I am delighted that since commencing his retirement, Pat has kindly returned to CPL Group on a short-term interim basis to offer his support to Tenet. I wish to personally recognise and thank Pat for his many years of support towards the CPC whilst he was employed at Blackpool & The Fylde College and a Trustee on the CPL Group Board, and during his 4-year service as Head of Procurement within the CPC Contracting Team and CPL Group Leadership Team. Everyone at the CPL Group wishes Pat a long and happy retirement.

Peter Brewer retired from the post of Managing Director on the 31st of July 2021. I wish to thank Peter for his support and willingness to pass on his vast knowledge on all aspects of CPL history, the education sector and procurement. There are very few people who have 31 years’ continuous service in a procurement role within the education sector and even fewer who were also fundamental in the birth of a further education purchasing consortium and be the Managing Director for a 22-year period.

I consider it a privilege to have worked alongside both Pat and Peter, and for me to have been appointed into the Managing Director role and entrusted with taking the CPL Group forward over the coming years.

CPC Membership

Membership numbers within the CPC have remained strong during the 2020/21 year, with membership figures increasing by 865, from 7316 to 8181.

The rise in membership is primarily accountable to an increase in schools, academies and multi-academy trusts wishing to access the fantastic resources available through the CPL Group.

CPC Framework Suppliers

It would be wrong of me to not acknowledge the support given to CPL Group by the many suppliers who have demonstrated capability and capacity to earn approved status within our framework portfolio. Framework suppliers are one of the three links in CPL Group chain of success, with the other two being CPL and our members/customers. The framework suppliers work with CPC Contract Managers to optimise the service to deliver exceptional goods and services to the education sector. Demand for categories, of which many are required during short periods in the years, can make resourcing demand difficult to manage.

The support from framework suppliers allows the CPL Group to delivery our services and all the suppliers who have been awarded business via a CPC framework during the 2020/21 year should share the pride that the CPL Group gains from providing grant funding opportunities.


Tenet have continued to provide procurement consultancy services and I am pleased to report that their services continue to be in high demand. The team work exceptionally hard, in many cases going above and beyond in the spirit of being customer focused and professional.

Strategic plan priority aims

The following academic year of 2021/22 will focus on 4 priority aims across the CPL Group. Each priority aim will have an operational plan of work designed to move the CPL Group towards our vision of being the procurement partner of choice for the education sector and through our work, help the sector to enhance teaching and learning.

The 2021/22 priority aims will be:

  • To provide outstanding procurement services
  • To invest in providing procurement training and resources to enable the advancement of education and research
  • Be an employer of choice through engagement, equality, diversity, and inclusion
  • Focus on sustainability matters

I look forward to progressing the work associated to the four priority aims and measuring the outcomes of the work.

Concluding Comments

Finally, I wish to thank the Trustees, all of whom volunteer their time to support the work of the CPL Group. I also wish to thank the amazing employees of CPL Group. There are many unsung heroes within the CPL Group family. The work of the CPL Group requires many skills and talents and the praise for the outcomes delivered should be equally shared across every one of my colleagues.

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Contracting Business Report

Gary Sadler

Group Procurement and Compliance Manager

The Contracting Team have experienced a year of change in the senior management positions with Gary Sadler (Group Procurement and Compliance Manager) and Peter McMullan (Senior Category Manager) taking new roles following the retirement of Pat Condon. Both appointments have offered Gary and Peter well deserved promotions and opened a new opportunity for a Procurement Specialist / Category Manager to join the team and add to the existing skills and knowledge.

Stakeholder engagement is possibly the single most important aspect of working in the Contracting Team and through the year it is something that we have continually looked to improve and develop. Through extensive engagement with members, suppliers, colleagues, and external partners our contracting team have enhanced several frameworks this year through the re-tender process. In addition, we have expanded the range of frameworks available to our members by launching some exciting new agreements and our first Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for minor works.

Collectively the Contracting Team have continued to perform to a very high standard providing support to our members and suppliers throughout a very challenging and demanding period. On an individual level, each one of our team continues to develop their knowledge and skillset through continuous professional development and strives to improve the service offering.

New frameworks

  • Minor Works CPC’s first ever Dynamic Purchasing System for Minor Works is designed to allow members to engage the services of local, qualified and experienced construction contractors across 29 building works categories. Members can invite their own contractors to join the DPS throughout the contract period. [view]
  • Outsourced ICT This framework can provide members with an onsite, remote or hybrid ICT service provision as well as an independent consultancy service. [view]
  • School and Academies Furniture and Associated Services We have launched a bespoke furniture framework to meet the broad range of requirements for our School and Academy members. [view]

Retendered frameworks

  • Audit Services [view]
  • Catering Innovation and Concept Solutions [view]
  • Grounds Maintenance [view]
  • Hair, Beauty and Wigs [view]
  • ICT Networking and Storage Solutions [view]
  • Insurance and Associated Services for Academies & Schools [view]
  • Insurance and Associated Services for Colleges [view]
  • Library Resources and Associated Services [view]
  • Lift Supply, Installation, Maintenance and Consultancy [view]
  • Multifunctional Devices and Digital Transformation Solutions [view]
  • Software License Resellers Agreement for Colleges [view]
  • Staff Absence Protection and Reimbursement [view]
  • Vending (DPS) [view]
  • Washroom Services including Period Dignity Solutions [view]
  • White Goods and Associated Electrical Appliances [view]

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Regional Procurement Advisors Report

Mel Johnson

Customer Engagement Manager

The Regional Procurement Advisor (RPA) Team fully adapted and improved their approach to engagement with members during 2020/21 by increasing the quantity of member meetings using video calls. This allowed the team to continue supporting members during Covid-19 related restrictions. This change in practice saw an increase in efficiency across the team that could not have been achieved without the use of technology for interaction and engagement both within CPL Group and its customer base. The switch to video calls reduced the need to travel and allowed for travel costs and the teams carbon footprint to be reduced.

The team undertook 461 meetings in 2020/21 with 90% of those supporting members with inductions to CPL Group, information and knowledge sharing and guidance on how to use CPL Group resources and products. The multi-academy trusts (MATs) and academies requested more engagement meetings than Further Education Colleges in 2020/21, as membership in this category of member continued to grow.

The team completed 26 supplier engagement events, facilitated 12 procurement advisory group (PAG) networking meetings, and attended 6 national networking groups to further promote CPL Group. The events attended by the team included the Schools & Academy Show, MATs Conference and Schools North East Conference. Day to day handling of enquiries by phone and email continued with customer relationship management being a core area of focus.

A drive to increase contract data information helped improve member account information. This has been utilised throughout the year to proactively engage with members and provide support and guidance on CPL services relevant to their requirements.

Mel Johnson joined the team in November 2020 as a Regional Procurement Advisor, to support members based in the South East. Whilst being employed in the role, Mel has supported Tenet’s Managed Procurement Team by completing work for Capital City College Group, whilst maintaining an RPA role.

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Managed Procurement Contracts

Ray Wiffen & Rachel Turner

Regional Procurement Managers

The Managed Procurement Team supported 36 different educational establishments during the year. Further education customers accounted for 30, one higher education sector customer and 5 are multi academy trusts. The total quantity of academies across the 5 multi academy trusts was 50.

The total value of savings generated across the customer base was £8.3 million. A total of 109 tenders were completed during the year.

The Managed Procurement Team consisted of 24 employees as of the 31st of July 2021. The North based team consisted of 13 employees, with 11 employees forming the South team.

The gender split across both North and South teams was 50/50.

The annual customer satisfaction questionnaire informed us that a pleasing 100% of the customers who responded to the questionnaire would recommend the service to others. 97% considered the service to be good or outstanding, with 57.64% choosing outstanding. We received a 28.95% return rate on the questionnaire.

On Demand Procurement Support

Craig Lockley

National Procurement Manager

The On Demand Team delivered 287 projects supporting more than 400 separate education sites during the year 2020/21.

The Management Team within On Demand was increased during the year with well-deserved promotions for Luke Wood and Karis Lucano to Senior Procurement Consultants, in October 2020. The addition of the two posts provided more resource to ensure robust quality checking of work was maintained and offered team members more support.

The On Demand Team consisted of 7 employees as of the 31st of July 2021. 3 employees were based in the North with the remaining 4 employees based in the South of the country.

The gender split across the team was 43/57 with slightly higher quantity of males than females.

Customer satisfaction feedback is collected on completion of each project. 100% of the customers who responded to the questionnaire would recommend the service to others. 99% considered the service to be good or outstanding, with 66% choosing outstanding. We received an 8.75% return rate on the questionnaire.

Feedback taken from the questionnaires includes the testimonials as follows:

Tenet completed 396 tenders during the year 2020/21

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Tenet Procurement Services Report

Craig Lockley

National Procurement Manager

Tenet Procurement Services provides procurement support services, including compliant frameworks to the wider public sectors. Procurement support services are also offered to private companies.

Procurement work within the wider public and private sectors continued throughout the year. The team primarily supported customers with procurement tender support projects within the social housing sector and a private consultancy firm working on behalf of public sector clients.

A small number of local authorities have started to utilise the available frameworks listed on the website which we hope will continue to grow.

The Tenet Procurement Services website has undergone a full transformation during the year, with a focus on providing customers with an easy to navigate website with clear and concise information. Further improvements to the website are in development.

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

People & Culture Report

Jane Davies

Head of People Development

People (our employees) are at the heart of our business and their health, safety and wellbeing have been and continue to be a top priority. We are extremely proud of how hard all employees have worked in the most exceptional circumstances during 2020/21. As the Covid pandemic progressed, we continued with safety measures to ensure our employees had the appropriate equipment and resources to continue working on an agile, flexible basis, either from home or within our customers premises.

Health, wellbeing and stability has been our top priority and we remain committed to taking every necessary step and precaution to ensure that our employees are healthy, safe and happy at work. We have earned Great Place to Work Certified status for our high-trust workplace culture and we believe that a happy workplace inspires all to flourish in their role, with positive outcomes for our customers.

Much of our strength as a business lies in our shared values and culture. Whereby we are constantly striving to foster a supportive culture of belonging and purpose, in an environment where people can collaborate, feel engaged and thrive in their role. We continually aim to create a culture where everyone is treated equally and fairly and where views are heard and considered. This means creating a culture where we are all able to be ourselves, contributing and supporting each other. We are passionate about creating an inclusive culture and want employees to have a voice and provide insights into Group Leadership discussions and decision-making processes.

We aim to be a desirable and an attractive place for our employees to work and we were delighted to receive the Great Place to Work (GPTW) and Great Place to Work for Women accreditations. Our employees had spoken and 94% regarded CPL Group as a Great Place to Work and 92% felt we provide a safe working environment.

Wellbeing - No one is alone at CPL Group

We continuously review our wellbeing approach to ensure our offer is fit for purpose, in line with best practice, and that it delivers brilliant wellbeing tools and support to all employees. The impact on an employee’s wellbeing whilst living and working through a pandemic has been immense. Therefore, we have made it an even greater priority to do all we can to provide support and further develop our well-being offer through trained Mental Health First Aiders, a dedicated wellbeing hub hosting information, support tools and frequent messages from the Health & Safety Officer and Managing Director on awareness campaigns.

A wider focus as we approach 2021/22 is to expand the network of mental health champions, continue to promote key wellbeing events and external solutions to assist employees. We are also applying for the GPTW for wellbeing accreditation, which will be announced in February 2022.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I)

We have taken a holistic approach to make sure every employee’s individuality, diversity and uniqueness is welcomed and valued. We treat everyone fairly and seek to establish and sustain a culture that powers belonging, trust and participation amongst ourselves to help everyone be at their best. We sustain a supportive culture that powers belonging, trust and participation amongst ourselves, recognising and valuing differences to help our Charity and customers.

This year, we have been working with colleagues and a programme of key dates and activities have been designed to encourage employee engagement and inclusion across the country. Some examples of activities include national awareness days including World Mental Health Day, Diwali, Stress Awareness Month, Black History Month which shone a light on racial discrimination and social injustice, and we fortified our focus on gender and LGBTQI+, recognising Pride and allowing all to express themselves, their whole selves without judgement. We have also made good progress in our journey towards ED&I, with our gender equality, hitting a gender balance of 52% female and 48% male. Employees confirmed via the GPTW survey that CPL Group provide 99% commitment to ED&I.

There are many ways on how we’re pushing to become a more diverse organisation, and this is coming to life in 2021/22. A new equality, diversity and inclusion policy and strategy will be launched with training and awareness raising, to help build a culture where diverse talent matters. Together, we hope to create a workplace that is as diverse as the world is, and as inclusive as the world should be.

Upskilling Our Employees

Our People Strategy is “to grow our own” which focuses on driving an engaged, empowered and high-performing workforce through our on-going commitment to provide continued professional development plans and training.

Now, more than ever, it is critical that we attract and retain our employees. In 2020 we launched a new applicant tracking system that promotes all our opportunities on varied social media channels. This helped us to attract and recruit 23 new employees across the CPL Group, some of which are on development training programmes to ensure they continue to develop skills and knowledge to grow within the business.

Through our internal Learning and Development platform, we have continued to promote and deliver free training resources and tools. We prioritised helping our employees adjust to the fallout of Covid-19 by promoting remote working skills and helping people deal with issues around mental wellbeing and personal resilience.

We have also been working in partnership with the Business Growth Hub and GM Skills Map, a government funded scheme for small businesses in Manchester to help grow our business through varied training options to develop our in-house talent and enhance our team's performance.

We are very privileged to have a highly skilled workforce. Together they work in collaboration and are continually encouraged to engage across multiple teams and communication channels to share best practice and knowledge between each other.

Rewarding Our People

With almost all our employees working remotely during the past year, it was more important than ever that people felt connected, recognised, and fairly rewarded for their efforts.

We aim to deliver a total remuneration and reward package that is market-competitive, considering the role, job size, responsibility, and the individual’s performance and effectiveness. All employees are offered a wide range of benefits including an annual pay review, yearly bonus, pension, 38 days holiday (including Christmas holiday closure and bank holidays), agile flexible working, paid sick, maternity and paternity pay and financial support for CPD and qualifications.

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Business Services Report

Dave Owen

Financial Controller

The CPL frameworks continue to provide excellent value for money for all members supported by a free helpdesk facility and personal technical support from the field based Regional Procurement Advisor team.

This is supported by outstanding procurement placement service (which in the year recorded £8.3 Million of savings over contract terms for its customers) and on-demand tendering services provided by Tenet.

The Trustees are committed to ensuring that any excess surpluses are reinvested into the education sector. Since 2019 £1 Million has been identified as Designated Funds for the purpose of reinvestment. £343,262 had been expended prior to the financial year with a further £68,133 spent during 20/21.

Investment into the education sector takes the form of several projects with the grant funding to sponsor student events/activities generating particular interest within the sector. The first round of grant funding during 2020/21 saw £259k awarded to 33 institutions. The national lockdowns during the past 18 months have meant that no further funding was possible though, with the easing of restrictions, a second funding “window” was opened in May 2021. The result of the second round was £301k awarded to 71 institutions which will be payable in the first quarter of the new financial year.

Swipe left on table to scroll through information

Income 2021£ 2020£ (restated) Assets 2021£ 2020£ (restated)
Charitable activities 3,936,431 3,430,942 Goodwill 365,000 490,000
Investments 9,077 15,658 Other fixed assets 135,954 163,566
Total income 3,945,508 3,446,600 Net current assets 4,215,653 3,537,272
Operational Expenditure 3,813,606 3,445,934 Provision for liabilities (2,192,000) (2,425,000)
Operational Net income 131,902 666 Total Net Assets 2,524,607 1,765,838
Reinvestment to sector 68,133 325,477
Net income 63,769 (324,811) Financed by
Revenue reserves 4,117,131 3,534,100
Designated reserves 599,476 656,738
Actuarial (loss)/gain on defined benefit pension schemes 695,000 (1,497,000) Pension (2,192,000) (2,425,000)
Net movement in funds 758,769 (1,821,811) Total reserves 2,524,607 1,765,838

Concluding Comments

Looking ahead, CPL Group intends to continue its growth over the coming years. A new vision and 5-year strategy will be developed during the year that will detail how the business will achieve its aim of being the procurement services partner of choice for the education sector.

Within the strategy will be a new social value strategy detailing how the Group will achieve financial, economic, environmental, and social and human sustainability. This will include an aim to achieve ISO 14001 accreditation within 3 years and go beyond net carbon emissions (carbon offsetting).

Further and sustained investment in staff wellbeing is a priority with most of the workforce working remotely.

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report

Governance Report

Darren Lowe

Managing Director

Governance Structure

The Board approves the strategy and leads the CPL Group to achieve long-term success.


  • Leads the Board and ensures it operates effectively.
  • Maintains a culture of openness and debate.
  • Ensures effective dialogue between the Board and members.

Managing Director

  • Day-today management of CPL Group and implementation of strategy.


  • Work with and challenge, if necessary, the Group Leadership Team.
  • Provide independent external perspective.
  • Contribute a broad range of experience and expertise.

Sub-committees of the Board

Procurement Advisory Group (PAG)

  • Represented by National and Regional Groups. Each group consists of representation from member organisations. Chairs from each regional group form the national group and report feedback from regional meetings to the national group. The Chair of the National Group is a Trustee and provides an update at each formal Board meeting.

Free Reserves Committee

  • Advises on the appropriate distribution of free reserves held by CPL Group.

Group Leadership Team

  • Is responsible for the ongoing management of CPL Group. It considers the day-to-day operational matters for running the Charity and reviews performance of CPL Group, in line with the strategic plan.
  • Meets on a weekly basis and is chaired by the Managing Director.
  • Is responsible for the development and implementation of the strategy.
  • Develops and delivers business plans and budgets.
  • Approves procedures and policies.
  • Monitors operating and financial performance.
  • Is responsible for health and safety management.
  • Is responsible for data protection management.

CPL Group Board

The Board of Directors are responsible for providing direction and overseeing the governance of the Charity. The directors of the Charity are its trustees for the purpose of Charity law and throughout this report are collectively referred to as the trustees. The duties of the Board are delivered within scheduled Board meetings which allow for constructive debate and challenge by the Trustees. This approach enables the Trustees and the Managing Director to make timely and educated decisions on strategic matters.


As of the 31st of July 2021, the Board comprises the Chair, eight Trustees and one Executive Director (Managing Director). The Charity’s procedure for appointing new Trustees is overseen by the Financial Controller. The composition of the Board is fundamental to its success in providing strong and effective leadership. Trustees are appointed for specific terms, usually of three years. The Chair reviews the composition of the Board and will assess whether the balance of skills, experience, and knowledge is appropriate to enable them to operate effectively.

Role of the Board

The Board has core responsibilities including setting the Charity’s strategic direction, overseeing the delivery of the strategy, and managing risk. All matters below the financial limit set by the Board are delegated to the Group Leadership Team. The Board Trustees operate on an open and constructive debate basis.

Board Meetings

The Board agenda is agreed by the Chair, in conjunction with the Managing Director. Each scheduled meetings includes an update from the various areas of the Charity, along with financial reports and update reports from committees. Discussions on strategic proposals, legal and governance matters are also covered.

The Board has a strong focus on financial performance and during the year 2020/21 discussion took place to ensure the Charity future proof finances against further unplanned occurrences, such as another pandemic.

Division of Responsibilities

There is a clear division of responsibilities between the Chair (who is responsible for the leadership and effectiveness of the Board) and the Managing Director (who is responsible for managing the Charity’s business). The Board has delegated authority for the day-to-day management of CPL Group to the Managing Director, with specific areas of business being managed by the other members of the Group Leadership Team. The Group Leadership Team are involved in, or are aware of, all major activities and are therefore extremely well placed to ensure that all decisions align with the Charity’s agreed strategy.

The Group Leadership Team are given delegated authority from the Board to make decisions within specific parameters. Decision outside of these parameters are reserved for the Board, although the Group Leadership Team are encouraged to bring decisions and/or proposals within their delegated authority to the Board for scrutiny and challenge.

Conflict of Interest

Trustees are required to avoid situations in which they have, or can have, a direct or indirect conflict with the interests of the Charity. The Charity has a procedure to record new outside interests and actual or perceived conflicts of interest that may affect them in their roles as Directors and Trustees of CPL Group.

Directors and Trustees

The trustees serving during the year 2020/21 were as follows:

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
  • F Bensihem, Finance and Procurement Officer, College of West Anglia (from 11/11/20)
  • P Brewer, Managing Director, CPL Group (resigned on 31/07/21)
  • N Cassidy, Procurement Manager, Cambridge Regional College (Chair of Purchasing Advisory Group)
  • A Comyn, Deputy Chief Executive & Chief Financial Officer, Nottingham College
  • 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 (co-opted with voting rights)
  • R Kilcoyne, Head of Procurement, Leeds City College (resigned 31/12/20)
  • D Lowe, Managing Director, CPL Group (from 01/04/21)
  • D N Pullein, Vice Principal - Finance and Resources, Leeds College of Building

Registered Office

Procurement House, Unit 23-25 Leslie Hough Way, Salford, M6 6AJ


Haines Watts, Bridge House, Ashley Road, Hale, Altrincham WA14 2UT


NatWest, Leeds City Office, 8 Park Row, Leeds LS1 5HD

CPL Group 2020/21 Annual Report


Darren Lowe

Managing Director

The CPL Group has a long history of working in collaboration with external partners. We believe that a strong partnership with a trusted provider will generate benefits that will positively impact our members and customers. A continuation of partnership working was maintained throughout 2020/21 and details of the various partners with whom CPL Group engaged with are shown below.

Department for Education (DfE)

Frequent discussions throughout the year with various parties within the Department for Education are held with the sole purpose of progressing the mutual goal of improving procurement within the school sector.

As of the 31st of July 2021, the Department for Education were recommending 16 CPC frameworks.

Dukefield Procurement

Framework partners to CPL Group, Dukefield Procurement provide procurement resource and specialism in designated areas of spend. Dukefield Procurement lead on the procurement of several frameworks of which Crescent Purchasing Limited are the contracting authority.

UK Universities Purchasing Consortia (UKUPC)

CPL Group work collaboratively with the Joint Contracting Group, a working group of UKUPC, to share knowledge and combine skills to produce best in practice framework agreements for the education sector.