#IntegrationMatters: Bringing our teams together

  • 12/05/2024
  • Written by Kevin Chidlow and Steve Sercombe

NOE CPC is in quite a unique position in that through our reach we operate right across the NHS landscape; we have the traditional collaborative ‘hub’ side of the organisation which focuses predominantly on the procurement of services, and the category management service provider (CMSP) side that focuses on procurement of products. We are part of NHS Workforce Alliance with three other NHS procurement hubs and Crown Commercial Service, and we also support our host Trust Leeds and York Partnership’s procurement team with their activity. We have quite distinct operating areas, but we integrate them under the banner of NOE CPC. Being part of the Trust influences our values and culture, and without that influence, we would operate very differently.

In spite of some operational differences, we all have the same goal, to deliver benefit back to the NHS. What binds us together is the similarity in what we do, we have a shared objective of delivering excellence within procurement and category management. Our customers right across the NHS demand a similar quality of service delivery. Across both the hub and the CMSP we share knowledge and best practice about what we are doing on both sides.

Integration is an important direction of travel for us, within the organisation, we have teams that work cross-functionally such as marketing and communications, governance, technology support and business services. We have also taken steps to implement shared accreditations such as ISO9001, sharing expertise has helped us to drive that skill across the whole organisation. We can promote integration in other areas as well such as having an awareness of developments within NHS England and the Central Commercial Function.

There are certainly areas of our organisation where there are more opportunities for integration and for our teams to work together more effectively. We can learn more from each other and share learnings such as category strategies and developing an appreciation of our operating environments, developing better links between our category areas and more dialogue between the teams to find crossover opportunities.

There are some barriers to integration that we want to overcome; at the moment we use different e-procurement systems, and if there were to be a move towards one system it could enable us to work more effectively across our teams and enable more cross-functional and holistic working practices. There are also barriers in our ways of working, for example the CMSP has one client in NHS Supply Chain, whereas the hub team have lots of different clients that they support.

Our focus on integration is not just on our customers and processes, we want to make our teams as integrated as possible. We do this through a variety of avenues including the staff experience group, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group and our social committee.

Integration is what gives our organisation its strength, by having all aspects of procurement; hub, CMSP, and Trust brought together under the banner of NOE CPC and our work with our collaborative partners gives us a unique view of the NHS procurement landscape.

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