What we thought of the Procurement Unconference 2019
On Monday we attended the Procurement Unconference, organised by David Kershaw of Delta Procurement. Here’s what we thought…
First things first, thank you to David for all his hard work and enthusiasm in getting this event arranged and off the ground. It was great that there was a specific event dedicated to the theme of procurement both public and private, and there were certainly a good mix of representatives in the room.
What is an Unconference?
Just as a reminder before we launch into our experience, an unconference is a loosely organised event where participants pitch sessions and set their own agenda.
How did it work out?
The day allowed for participants to attend 3 sessions of their choosing. As an informally organised event you were encouraged to get up and move around sessions if you felt like you weren’t contributing to the discussion or if you might be better suited elsewhere. Now as with all unconferences you are spoilt for choice on what sessions to attend and can often find yourself a little out of your depth…(well at least I did with it being my first unconference). However, I did find that discussions were adapted to those there, one of the key rules of the day being that ‘whoever is there are the right people’. All the sessions I attended were engaging and made me often see things from a different perspective, as we work both with private and public sector being able to see both sides of the coin has its advantages!
A personal favourite of mine was the session ‘does social value have a place in digital procurement?’ pitched by Nicky Stewart of UKCloud. This session was particularly interesting and timely given gov’s recent consultation on social value. The unanimous opinion of those around the table was absolutely it has a place in digital procurement! So, we focused not on the ‘if’ but the ‘how’ and discussed the various ways we could wrap social value criteria into procurements. Ideas including, being able to demonstrate the vendor’s community impact, percentages of the contract values of the tender to be reinvested into socially responsible projects or training or even being a part of the ‘fair tax’ movement. The main takeaways were that there are many ways to include social value within procurement, but they need to be more consistent and somewhat standardised. We especially need to work on de-localising social value and catch central government up to local!
All in all, it was an eye-opening day and I am looking forward to seeing the write ups of sessions I didn’t have a chance to attend. Mainly, ‘contracting in sprints’ – I’m keen to see if they made any headway on this beast of a topic…