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CPC’s Contracting Team are providing procurement support to the NHS

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Two members of CPC’s Contracting Team are directly supporting the NHS and are sourcing PPE in the fight against COVID-19. Myles Woodman and Ekkehard Kugler took some time out to answer a series of questions about the work they are doing and how they are collaborating with other procurement professionals and using their skills to help secure additional resources for the NHS.

Please provide some information about yourself and your role at CPC?

Myles

"I am a Procurement Officer for CPC and I’ve been with the Group for about a year and a half. I contract manage a range of frameworks for the organisation mainly in the Estates and Facilities category which does include PPE."

Ekkehard

"I have previously worked in Local Government and the NHS as well as the private sector. At CPC I am a category manager looking after frameworks for mainly Estates and facilities management. I am also the champion for Social Value which I am very interested in as it brings communities together and adds value to the outcome of procurement processes and contracts in social, economic and environmental terms."

How has your role changed since supporting the NHS with the procurement of vital supplies?

Myles

"There’s a significant level of critical time management involved in my role to make sure that all the work gets done to the high standard that CPC is known for. I have daily NHS team catch up calls to discuss any updates from Government and we exchange project information to ensure we are all on the right track."

Ekkehard

"It's not that different to my normal day-to-day role when we engage with the market prior to tendering as we want to have the latest data available to procure the best possible outcome for members. In the case of the NHS it is just different data, more reliant on technical data and technical approvals or accreditations.

Whilst continuing with my current workload this is an additional opportunity to make a difference. It is interesting to see how this supporting role links in with government requirements and also to see how quickly a collection of strangers from different parts of the country and different work environments have come together as a team to help make a difference."

Please can you provide details about the support you are providing to the NHS?

Myles

"I am providing support as an Opportunity Caseworker in a team of about seven people. There are about 50 of us in total who are liaising with the suppliers who have put offers in on the NHS portal with the details of PPE they can offer. There are over 7000 suppliers to evaluate, so there's a lot. We ensure that we get the supplier’s details and pass them through to the Technical Approval Team to place orders for the NHS."

Ekkehard

"We are extremely busy processing offers of supplies to the NHS by linking in with those organisations and gathering the relevant information before passing this on to the technical review team to make a decision on approval or rejection. There is a set of data that needs to be collected as well as checking if these are bona fide organisations providing the correct quality of PPE. You would be surprised and dismayed to see how many people or organisations want to benefit from the current situation. On the other side there are also a lot of small businesses who want to help but do not know how to go about it. Our teams are here to sift through these offers and pass them on through the right channels with the correct information so it can be processed."

Please describe the support you are receiving from CPC and suppliers

Myles

"The support from CPC and suppliers has been absolutely fantastic. CPC and my colleagues have been very helpful in making sure that the new PPE framework I’ve been working on has remained on schedule, which is amazing. Also, the suppliers we have awarded onto our frameworks have been really helpful by signing up to the NHS portal and notifying CPC staff of available items for CPC members and the NHS, they’ve been so proactive and it’s brilliant. I couldn’t achieve what I do without the help of everyone."

Ekkehard

"CPC has allowed me to use my time to make a difference to volunteer to do this work for the NHS. Existing suppliers on our frameworks are already signed up to support this effort through the Cabinet Office website. I have already been in contact with some of our suppliers to discuss future scenarios once the lockdown comes to an end, so they can be ready for our members requirements. In the meantime, they're offering the latest information all the time to our members which we can put on the website or issue via social media."

Please provide details about the products you have procured for the NHS

Myles

"I have been procuring high demand and priority items such as; gowns, gloves, face masks, visors and aprons from manufacturers all over the world. Sometimes quantities have been in the millions for some of these items with deliveries coming into the UK from Turkey, China and Australia. There are a lot of PPE items to be evaluated and there are 50 in our team working with up to 7000 suppliers."

Ekkehard

"Some of the products we are continuing to look for are; alcohol hand rub and other hand sanitation, eye protectors, two different types of face masks, gowns, gloves and aprons. Those are some of the higher level priority items but there's a lot of ancillary products that have been offered and need reviewing as well, for example products you can use if you wear gloves all day long and it has an effect on sensitive skin."

Who are you collaborating with in this role?

Myles

"I’m working as part of the Ops Cell 4 Team which is being headed up by a colleague from SUPC a fellow consortium, together with NHS and CCS colleagues. It’s nice to meet people from varying backgrounds of procurement and purchasing, it’s great to work with them and collaborate on this project.

I am collaborating with the many suppliers on the portal and other people from a wide network of companies, it has been great building relationships with new people and helping to push our individual team forward with the suppliers we are working with."

Ekkehard

"I am in Cell 3 of the Opportunities Team and we are a mix of nine people from MOD, Education and NHS. We’re based all over the country from London up to the North East."

How do you feel about the vital work you are completing?

Myles

"I am very proud to be helping the NHS with the national effort of securing all this emergency PPE. It’s humbling to know that what we’re doing here is helping the dedicated workers on the Frontline."

Ekkehard

"In principle, it’s no different to what I normally do, as the ‘end user’ is the primary objective. We always talk about procurement and tendering processes as well as outcomes, however the primary outcome is aimed at improving the ‘end users’ or in this case healthcare workers experience and support them to improve patient outcomes.

This flow is exactly the same for CPC members, it’s the same kind of process for the end users in the education sector. I just try and do the best I can to improve the outcomes for everybody concerned."

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Myles

"I want to thank CPC for the opportunity to undertake this role. They are great to work for and it’s an honour to help the NHS. I hope all our suppliers, members and consortia colleagues stay safe during this time."

Ekkehard

"As this global crisis has arisen, the spirit of collaboration across the procurement community has been tangible. We recognise that our work impacts all of our fellow citizens within the UK and that the acquisition of PPE contributes to their wellbeing and all our futures."

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