On 21 June 2018, the second in a series of engagement events was held to co-design the new Commissioning function. This event was attended by employees from the Commissioning function and representatives from across the organisation. The focus for this session was to:
Reflect on feedback from the first event to refine the purpose statement for the Commissioning function
Share information about existing and planned work from across the function
Identify the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for a commissioning approach
Commissioning: Our Purpose
The day was opened by Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, Councillor Jenny Laing. Councillor Laing stayed for the duration of the event – and took part in the group discussions and activities.
The first task of the day was to jointly agree a purpose statement for the Commissioning function.
As a starter for 10, the Commissioning Senior Management Team had drafted a purpose statement based on the feedback from the first event. They asked the room to consider what had been proposed so far and handed over to facilitators to gather quick reactions from their table and provide suggestions to review and refine the draft statement.
You can see below how the purpose statement now looks thanks to staff feedback!
So what happens next? Once all your feedback has been taken into account the purpose statement will be reviewed by our Elected Members, Chief Executive and Directors. Then we can start sharing this with colleagues across the council.
Commissioning Approach of the Future
This was followed by a ‘world cafe’ to share some of the big pieces of work going on in the Function and start seeing how these fit together. Delegates spent 15 minutes at each of the following stalls hearing key messages and asking questions.
The Procurement team have been analysing data about our joint spend from our shared service partners, Aberdeen City, Shire and Highland Council. This has highlighted the fact that we often use multiple suppliers when buying the same goods and services.
Tom Maclennan, Commercial Manager for Major Projects, spoke about options for consolidating purchases to achieve savings.
Tom noted that on some occasions there are very valid reasons for using multiple suppliers, for example specialisms, location etc. However the team are working with services to identify areas where consolidation can achieve savings, without adversely impacting service delivery. The plan then is to approach suppliers and negotiate discounts based on the potential to increase business with them through joint procurement.
Once the discount is negotiated, services will be asked to order only from the correct supplier.
The Commercial and Procurement team will then:
- Review results
- Monitor ordering behaviour across the shared service partners
- Review any impact on service delivery
- Identify suitable categories for aggregated purchases with our shared service partners.
The Ideal Commissioner
The final activity of the day asked participants to reflect on everything they’d heard and learned during the session – and use this to brainstorm the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be the Ideal Commissioner.
Volunteers from across the function will form a short-life working group that will use the above feedback, conduct research into existing frameworks for Commissioning Councils, and produce a Knowledge, Skills and Behaviour framework. Staff across the function will then be able to use this to self-assess their own development needs and select from the new development programme to plug any knowledge or skill gaps.
At the next engagement event in the autumn, we’ll review the output from this working group so that all staff in the Function can work towards becoming the ideal commissioner. But don’t wait until autumn to start your development! Take a look the feedback above and think about what you can start doing to develop your own knowledge, skills and behaviours.