Blog: We will continue to change to support the needs of those we serve

  • 28/11/2022
  • Written by NOE CPC

Our focus for November has been #CustomersMatter. To discuss this topic, we spoke to Caroline Brash, Training, Events and Business Development Manager, to give an update on some of the work her team are doing.


Here at NOE CPC we’ve always been really proud of our Training and Events programme, of how we work with our customers to ensure they get the best out of our framework agreements and the other services we offer. When Covid first hit back in 2020, we weren’t sure of how practically we could continue to deliver these services; we’d always received extremely positive feedback for our events which were, with very few exceptions, delivered in person, and our Customer Relationship Management team had built long-standing relationships with colleagues in member trusts through regular face-to-face meetings. 

After a brief hiatus, and with the support of our colleagues in NOE CPC’s Technical Services team, we were able to move (reasonably!) seamlessly to delivering events, training, and customer meetings through Microsoft Teams. As a result, the volume of events we can offer has grown significantly (by way of illustration, we delivered 19 sessions which were available to all our members during the whole of 2019. To date during 2022 we have delivered 25 events with several more in the pipeline). 

One event we run regularly and consider to be key to our relationships with customers is our Members’ Forum. We’ve moved from running two in-person sessions a year to three; two of which are delivered via Teams, and one is in-person. Our last Members’ Forum which took place virtually on 22nd September included updates from NOE CPC’s Directors around how we are working to ensure we reflect the direction of travel of the NHS and how procurement will be delivered in years to come; category and framework information. We also brought together experts representing CCF to share key messaging from the centre. We were also joined by Mary Mundy from legal firm Capsticks who spoke about the Procurement Bill and NHS Provider Selection Regime and highlighted the key points that every NHS procurement professional should be aware of.

Alongside our delivery of training to members, we have also continued to build on our relationships with the various Skills Development Networks, and alongside NOE CPC’s Senior Category Manager for Healthcare Services and Pharmacy, Michelle Walker, I have been delivering procurement training nationally, and we are proud that NOE CPC can support the profession at a time where trust training budgets are not always accessible or adequate for the needs of procurement colleagues. This workstream has evolved over the years and we now also support the HCSA’s training programme. Our commitment to the development of the procurement profession is reflected in the support NOE CPC offers to CCF colleagues as part of the various Delivery Groups of the People Strategy and People Plan (formerly I sat on the PTOM People and Skills Delivery Group, with various other NOE CPC colleagues supporting other groups and workstreams, and this work will continue in the new world).

Away from Training and Events, our Customer Relationship Managers have continued to offer dedicated support to member trusts (the team is delighted to be able to start meeting some colleagues in person again), as well as being instrumental in supporting our Procurement in Partnership (PiP) and Workforce Alliance partners in delivering a joined-up service to the NHS throughout England, avoiding duplication and maximising efficiency. The team has also been supporting collaborative working through linking in with colleagues across the ICSs.

We have listened to our customers’ feedback from surveys (including our recent Customer Satisfaction Survey), meetings and events to ensure we tailor our offer to really meet the changing needs of that key group of stakeholders, and we believe that the changes we have made to the way we work, and the frequency and format of the events that we offer, really reflects this. However, we will continue to change to support the needs of those we serve to retain our reputation as an agile and responsive partner. 

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