Discover and share good practice for smarter working universities

Universities – the ‘intelligent customers’ of the future

Higher education institutions should develop their own approach to becoming ‘intelligent customers’ of suppliers, which will involve investment in new skills, changes in culture...

Efficiency Exchange update 28 January 2014

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Finding the right contract caterer for your university

Many UK universities are deciding that catering is an outside job and are teaming up with external providers. This article in University Business looks at the experiences of universities and contract caterers in forming partnerships and working together.

Consorting with the consortia – the 30% target

You might think there is nothing new about collaborative procurement in higher education. After all, there are six main procurement consortia based in England that have been working with institutions for some years. They help with collaborative procurement among institutions and between HE and other sectors. What is new is that there’s a target to hit, as set by the Diamond Report on Efficiency and Modernisation. By 2016, it is expected that 30% of non-pay spend should be through effective collaborative arrangements. That’s a tough target, and it raises a number of questions.
Smart procurement can save thousands of pounds

Measuring, tracking, agreeing and banking procurement benefits

Procurement teams can play an important role in releasing savings to help to reduce budgets in higher education institutions or to bank and reinvest. But Jim Reed, who has held senior procurement roles in a number of sectors, argues that there is room for improvement in how universities measure the benefits they secure.
Students at Queen Mary University of London

Queen Mary University of London: why taking responsibility is good for business

An institution with its origins in Victorian philanthropy values the contributions of all its workers and makes a positive impact on its local community.
Managing outsourced contracts

10 tips for managing outsourced contracts

Outsourcing is an increasingly popular way for universities to keep costs down and to focus their activities on their core business, but there are risks involved. London Universities Purchasing Consortium's Andy Davies gives his top 10 tips for managing big-ticket outsourced contracts.

G-Cloud: universities can use new online marketplace

G-Cloud is a UK Government initiative to encourage the adoption of Cloud Services across the whole of the Public Sector as well as the higher education sector. It aims to simplify how the Public Sector buys and delivers services by creating a marketplace of pay-as-you-go commodity services that can be easily scaled up or down, based on the changing needs of an organisation and its users.

A parade of not so beautiful beauties?

The higher education energy market is becoming increasingly competitive. Richard Murphy from the public buying organisation The Energy Consortium (TEC) warns of the hidden dangers in the contracting process and urges universities to involve a broad range of departments when procuring energy services.

Universities should aim for social value in their procurement

New EU directives call upon public authorities to seek social value in their procurement activities. Universities, while not being public bodies, should nevertheless strive to achieve the same high societal value via their commissioning, Nick Petford Vice-Chancellor of the University of Northampton told the Inside Government Conference on 20 June.