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A Day In The Life Of A Procurement Consultant


By Lee Duckworth

Eve Metcalfe is a procurement manager for Tenet Education Services, working in the organisation’s ‘On Demand’ department, which supports institutions with specific, one-off procurement projects. Eve had originally arrived at Tenet as a procurement consultant in October 2020, spending two and a half years in this role, before earning promotion to her present managerial position in April 2023.

At the time of writing, Eve was working on a multitude of projects, but kindly found space in her busy schedule to elaborate on her day-to-day role at Tenet and how our dedicated, On Demand team can effectively support your institution in achieving its procurement objectives, one task at a time.

“The On Demand team provides ad hoc tendering services to clients across England and Wales”, explained Eve, a key member of a Tenet department that carries out over 300 tenders per year.

“Currently, I’m working on around a dozen different projects, with two of those for clients I’ve worked with previously – Eko Trust, who are based across Newham, Barking & Dagenham and Hackney, as well as the Windsor Forest College Group, who are located in Berkshire”.

For clients old and new, Eve is crystal clear on the value of Tenet’s On Demand service, highlighting a range of ways it can prove an invaluable investment for schools, academies, colleges and universities. 

“We provide a professional, turnkey procurement service for clients that don’t have their own procurement team, or who lack the experience or capacity to manage a procurement process.

“We save our clients time, allowing them to focus on what they’re best at… educating!

“And, though not always possible in the current financial climate, ideally we would save our clients money, too… savings that can be reinvested within the school, trust, college or university itself”.

With Tenet itself forming part of registered charity the CPL Group, Eve considers the Group’s own reinvestment in education through its ‘Giving Back’ programme as another attractive selling point.

“I’m not aware of any other procurement consultancies that reinvest the level of funding that we do into the education sector. It highlights our commitment”.

At the start of each one-off procurement task, Eve will endeavour to ascertain and understand the client’s requirements as closely as she can, with her process paving the path to an effective result.

“The key to this is communication from the very start of the project”, she explained.

“Once we’ve established the specification requirements, we build this into a draft version of the Invitation to Tender (or ITT, for short). We then share this draft with the client for review and feedback, before incorporating any amendments into a new, updated version of this ITT.

“We repeat the process until the ITT reflects exactly what the client requires”.

At the outset, institutions might find the idea of a new, one-off procurement project to be daunting, but Tenet’s experience and expertise combine with a personal touch to tackle tasks with confidence.

“To start, the dedicated On Demand consultant will introduce themselves, agree a bespoke project timetable and begin to establish the requirements, with regard to the specification”, Eve continued.

“This could be via a questionnaire, a telephone or Teams call, email exchange, or a combination”.

“We’ll agree the award criteria and methodology, the draft contract… we may also provide support to the client, regarding giving notice to the incumbent supplier”.

Asked whether she thought Tenet took the weight of burden from an institution, Eve’s response was “absolutely!”, while she would underline cost savings, alignment of contracts and the benefits of a dedicated and bespoke procurement service as some of the key differences Tenet’s team can make.

“I know I’m biased, but I would certainly describe Tenet as a safe pair of hands!”, she affirmed.

“I’m lucky to work with some incredibly talented and dedicated colleagues within my immediate team and across the wider CPL Group. I’d like to think that any prospective client would be able to recognise those traits in us and allow us the opportunity to work with them”.

Whatever your institution’s procurement requirements, Eve and her consultants in the On Demand team have the flexibility to adapt and address the aims of an institution in search of one-off support.

“While we complete a lot of similar tenders (cleaning tenders are our bread and butter!), no tender is ever quite the same. I love the diversity of the role and learning something new with each project. 

“Most recently, I’ve completed a ‘Project Management Services’ tender for one client and a ‘Land Agent Services’ tender for another. I’ve never managed tenders like either before and it was really interesting researching the services and developing the specifications alongside the clients”.

Knowing some bespoke projects might pose a greater challenge than others, Eve’s positive attitude and resourcefulness in her role ensures that hurdles can be evaded en route to a positive outcome.

“We do experience the odd tricky situation, rarely, be it a supplier unhappy with the outcome of a procurement process, or a client who isn’t responsive when we’re trying to draft a specification. 

“Luckily, we have a pool of knowledgeable, experienced colleagues, so if ever in a position where we don’t know how to handle an issue, someone across the wider team can offer advice and guidance”.

With a career background combining procurement, supply chain and legal experiences, Eve’s variety of aligned disciplines in her past has helped her to approach her current role particularly effectively.

“One of the key skills that runs through my previous roles is attention to detail and it is fundamental in my current job within the On Demand team… whether I am listening to a client’s needs during a meeting, ensuring a specification wholly and accurately reflects a client’s requirements or providing feedback to a colleague on an evaluation, or the tender documents they have completed”.

Outside of her day-to-day duties with Tenet, Eve is working towards becoming a Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (MCIPS), a high-coveted qualification in the field. 

“I’ve been working towards my MCIPS for the last six years, on and off, due to relocating, changes in jobs and family commitments. However, I’m one exam from completing my Level 5 and hope to have completed this before the end of the year. 

“Next year, I’m planning on starting my Level 6 exams. It’s taken longer to get here than originally planned, but I’m determined to become MCIPS accredited!”

With her enthusiasm and dedication helping advance a host of one-off procurement projects, Eve is a great advocate of Tenet’s On Demand offering – a total, end-to-end service that can save institutions time, stress and resources, while connecting them to supply of the services and goods they require.

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