Businesses from across the country gathered in Glasgow this month to recognise good practice, innovation and excellence in providing goods and services to Scotland's public sector.

SCOTLAND Excel’s Supplier Excellence Awards, in partnership with Crown Commercial Service, took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on 11 May.

Hugh Carr, Scotland Excel’s Director of Strategic Procurement explains that the Supplier Excellence Awards honour the valuable role of businesses that go the extra mile when supplying goods and services to the Scottish public sector. “

This is the fourth of our awards events. They are held every two years, beginning with the first-ever supplier awards programme back in 2015,” Carr comments.

“At that time there was a real gap in the national awards calendar, in that there was nothing that recognised the brilliant work that so many suppliers do in going above and beyond when delivering their contractual commitments to the public sector.”

The 2022 Supplier Excellence Awards programme was postponed until this year, due to the pandemic, and its reappearance was widely welcomed. “We had over a hundred submissions from a range of suppliers across all categories, which was hugely gratifying. It demonstrates clearly that the Awards have gone from strength to strength and are widely recognised across the public sector,” Carr says.

The award ceremony is now firmly established as a ‘must do’ biennial event in the public procurement calendar. It provides supplier organisations of all shapes and sizes with an invaluable opportunity to share their achievements across the eight award categories and ensures that the winners are recognised by their peers and customers.

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Carr says that it was particularly gratifying to see that this year, eight of the 11 awards were won by Scottish organisations.

Scotland Excel oversees a £2bn portfolio of contracts used by councils and other public sector organisations. The Award categories ranged from supply chain diversity and environmental practices to customer relationships and community benefits.

Scotland Excel’s Chief Executive, Julie Welsh comments: “As the national centre of procurement expertise for local government, it is important for us to recognise the vital role that suppliers to our contracts play in delivering value for money for the public. It is an opportunity to showcase the innovation they bring to the public sector and communities. It is right and fitting that we take the time to recognise those who demonstrate excellence when supporting the delivery of essential services.”

Carr adds: “We had a very diverse set of winners. These included suppliers of environmental management services, recycling and composting, soft furniture providers, refuse management services, and care providers, as well as integrated service providers in health care.

“It has been particularly gratifying to see the ever-increasing number of awards submissions. The event is now very well received by both the supplier community and public sector organisations.”

He points out that while those suppliers who were short-listed got two free tickets, many suppliers chose to buy additional tickets or reserve whole tables at the dinner event, so that their staff could share in the evening. “

The two main takeaways for me from the event are, first, that it provides a tremendous opportunity to publicise the great work that our suppliers organisations bidding to win public sector contracts.

“We represent 32 local authorities and our procurement portfolio amounts to over £2 billion. So that is a great incentive for suppliers to come forward to bid for public sector contracts. The Awards have become a great advertisement for supplier excellence in delivering public sector contracts,” Carr comments.

He adds that what was really impressive about this year’s submissions was the detail and quality that they displayed. “It was very clear that the entries had been very carefully thought through and put together. It really highlights the additional elements of community service and added value that so many suppliers engage in when delivering public services.

“We have seen this exemplified in a whole range of ‘above and beyond’ activities, such as encouraging work experience and work placements for local people. Many suppliers now go out of their way to introduce various elements of ‘back to work’ training for unemployed people, giving them a way of getting back to work.

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“We have seen suppliers initiating coastline clear-up activities, or carrying out tree planting exercises. Some suppliers have supported local football teams or local veterinarian services. Others with longer-term contracts are offering apprenticeship programmes for locals. The value-add element in public sector contracts has become a key part of what so many suppliers now offer as part of their service bid.”

Around 380 guests attended the ceremony, which was supported by several organisations, with Crown Commercial Service being the headline partner. Other event supporters were: Brakes Scotland, ICL UK Sales Limited, Union Technical, phs Group, Holyrood Communications, ishga Skincare, The Herald & Times Group, BRB and Supplier Development Programme.

Carr adds: “We at Scotland Excel would like to thank the partners and supporters that helped us to create such an amazing awards experience for everyone. We look forward to working with them again.” Paul Hansen, Head of Account Management -Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & Crown Dependencies at Crown Commercial Service, said: “Crown Commercial Service is committed to supporting and collaborating with the Scottish public and third sector. Partnering with Scotland Excel for its awards is also a great way for us to celebrate and recognise the work that the private sector in Scotland does, that ultimately benefits the taxpayer.”

Carr adds that Scotland Excel has been leading the Scottish public sector’s response to climate change for a number of years. It is focused on embedding carbon reduction principles across all contracts put in place by the Scottish public sector.

See photos from the event at www. albums/72177720308342975