Staff at Bristol City Council have become the first ever European winners of a major American award. The council’s Corporate Procurement team have carried off the US National Purchasing Institute Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award, which recognises excellence in public procurement by measuring innovation, professionalism, productivity, e-procurement and leadership.
Bristol’s Corporate Procurement department saves the city hundreds of thousands of pounds a year through discounts on large orders of essential items such as furniture, phones, computers and stationery. Its e-procurement systems allow companies to tender for council contracts electronically. Businesses are also encouraged to provide electronic catalogues and the authority prefers e-payment methods and e-invoicing and favours bidders who can provide these services as they save money and time. Other recent innovations have included the implementation of a council wide e-tendering system, more use of e-auctions and the full automation of the purchasing process.
The AEP award is presented annually to public or non-profit organisations that meet a number of criteria including ethical standards, organisational structure and environmental purchasing policy. The criteria are updated each year to reflect changes in the purchasing profession.
Bristol’s Chief Executive Nick Gurney said the council’s recognition assured local people that the authority was maintaining the highest standards in its stewardship of their money. John Bees, the council’s Executive Member for Central Support Services, added, “We are honoured to be the first recipient in Europe to receive such a high award. We continue to set high standards for the city and its employees and this award shows the excellent performance of our Corporate Procurement Unit.”