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Launching our Procurement to Partnership Online Toolkit

Date: 13.05.21 |Categories: Featured |Tags: , , , ,

On Tuesday 11th May, we were delighted to launch our online resource, From Procurement to Partnership: a Practical Toolkit For Commissioners.

Developed in association with E3M’s partners, Buzzacott, Stone King, The Change Coefficient and Zurich Municipal, together with colleagues from some of our member organisations, Catch22 and Kibble from the Social Enterprise Leaders Club, and Oldham and Plymouth Councils from our Bold Commissioners Club, the toolkit aims to provide a step-by-step guide to realising purpose-alignment and making it work for local communities.

The launch was announced via a webinar kindly managed by Stone King’s Events Team and chaired by E3M’s Managing Director Jonathan Bland. Stone King’s Julian Blake set the scene by outlining the toolkit’s Five fundamental correctives for public service reform, i.e. the key principles for improvement and change. These were then illustrated by presentations of two of the case studies available in the toolkit: first, Dr Carolyn Wilkins OBE talked about Oldham Council’s pioneering approach in setting up its innovation partnership for social prescribing, before Plymouth Council’s Rachel Silcock explained the work going on in the city via its Alliance for Complex Needs. Both feature powerful examples of social enterprises delivering high quality services through genuine collaboration with communities and local authorities.

Delegates were clearly engaged with the thought-provoking content and generated some great questions for our expert panel, as our existing speakers were joined by Baroness Hilary Armstrong, Chair of the House of Lords’ Public Services Committee, and Chris Wright, CEO, Catch22. Acknowledging the bravery that’s required to do something a bit different, they agreed that’s not a reason not to do it. Grasp the nettle, be the first!

Naturally, the pandemic provided the backdrop for the discussion and has demonstrated huge capability within our communities that can be harnessed, even if it means local authorities need to be humbler and more trusting. Chris noted how the events of the past year have opened the door to more imaginative conversation with commissioners, creating an opportunity to reset and rethink. Public services need to be more relational and accountable to their local population. Collectively, we could challenge the mindset that the state is the default producer of these services. If we succeed, we can find much more effective and sustainable solutions.

In closing it was noted how we need:

  • a shift in mindset to trust that people want to do the right thing.
  • momentum to move away from pure procurement for public services.
  • to take the time to talk because good conversations lead to partnerships.
  • to recognise no one is an expert, it takes collaboration.
  • to build social value in up front, make it core to a service.
  • to take collaboration from theory to reality.
  • to move service delivery away from a competitive market system to one of collaboration and partnership.

The toolkit is available now but also designed to be a dynamic resource, so please do get involved: send us your questions, join our community. We look forward to hearing from you!