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CPC Swoosh

We have achieved 9,000 members


By Toby Belshaw

Darren Lowe, Managing Director of CPL Group

A message from Darren Lowe, Managing Director of CPL Group

It's a proud day today for Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC). It is important to mark and celebrate the great work of our colleagues across the UK, and the efforts made to support our milestone achievement of a 9,000 strong member base.  

The brand CPL Group was formed to reflect the group of not-for-profit companies owned by the education sector.

I want to take the opportunity to tell the story of the CPL Group which encompasses Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC), Tenet Education Services (Tenet), Tenet Procurement Services (TPS) and a learning and development division called CPL Learning. It all started in 1999 with a request for procurement support to Salford University by Eccles College (now known as Salford College). Conversations with 6 other Greater Manchester Colleges resulted in the idea of a further education sector purchasing consortium becoming a reality.  The name Crescent came about because the 6 college locations on a map formed a crescent shape (interesting fact for you). Interest in the consortium grew at pace and in 2009 discussions between the University and a collective from the further education sector, led by David Pullein, concluded with the ownership of CPC passing to the further education sector and the charity being formed.  In 2017 Tenet Education Services were acquired along with Tenet Procurement Services to provide the CPC with a ‘one stop shop’ procurement service for the education sector with capacity to provide best in class compliant frameworks, and a consultancy service which could support members.  The brand CPL Group was formed to reflect the group of not-for-profit companies owned by the education sector. Fast forward to September 2022 and we now have a membership of 9,000 schools, colleges, universities, and other education-linked organisations, all benefiting from CPC frameworks and guidance, learning and development via CPL Learning and procurement consultancy service via Tenet. The combined CPL Group turnover for the financial year 2021/22 will reach £4.6m. Our members can procure goods and services safe in the knowledge that our 89 frameworks provide compliant purchasing routes, with 13 of these having been approved by the Department for Education, to date, providing additional confidence to our members.

Since 2019, £1m of funds have been designated for the purpose of reinvestment into the education sector.

Whilst it is the combined package of the CPL Group that attracts members, many would not be aware of the offer without all the efforts of the CPL Group family who champion our offering and take every opportunity to inform existing and new members about CPC and the support towards the products which ultimately generates the income which has enabled the charity to become the trusted procurement provider to many. The celebration of 9,000 members is because of the hard work our colleagues do and the trust in which the sector has placed in us, by choosing us as their procurement partner of choice.

The ambition of the charity when it officially formed in 2009 was to give back to the sector and over the past few years, we have been doing just that. Since 2019, £1m of funds have been designated for the purpose of reinvestment into the education sector. CPL Group has provided financial support to 101 members to enable them to progress various initiatives to enhance teaching and learning within their organisations. 126 members have benefitted from subsidised procurement services delivered by the Tenet On Demand team, and 32 members have received free of charge catering service reviews to help them provide a better catering service to their pupils. 15 apprentices have undertaken their work placements in FE colleges because of CPL Group.  CPL Learning have continued to offer free training across a range of procurement training courses and resources and supported our memberships advancement of education through the network of Procurement Advisory Groups around the country. These are just the headlines, behind the scenes the Tenet team, CPC Regional Procurement Advisors and CPC Contracting team are enhancing teaching and learning daily by working directly with members nationwide on procurement activities which save money and/or improve the quality of goods and services being bought.  In many cases, both are being achieved whilst also enabling the member to be compliant in the procurement process. Our support teams are supporting the charity’s purpose, and in their own unique way helping to deliver outstanding procurement services and maintain the highest standards of governance.

By living the values of the CPL Group, we continue to grow and improve.

Our new five-year strategy has the aspiration of growing our procurement community to 15,000 members by 2027 and becoming the procurement services partner of choice for the education sector and through our work, help the sector to enhance teaching and learning through our ‘Giving Back’ charitable goals.

By living the values of the CPL Group, we continue to grow and improve. Through support, collaboration, and professionalism we continue to be people orientated and customer focused. I have no doubt in my mind that the combination of these values will result in CPL Group continuing to be a great place to work and a procurement services partner of choice for the education sector.

Your support is valued, and on behalf of the leadership team and Trustees I want to thank you for your contribution to our achievement. Thank you!

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