At the recent NFCC Council Meeting in February 2022, the Programme Lead for the National Procurement Hub shared that improved data is a key deliverable for the NPH and is a common area of focus for the Home Office. With this in mind the National Procurement Hub are constantly looking for ways to improve the data we hold centrally & when specifically looking at procurement activity across our Sector, we believe we can do more to centralise our procurement and contracts data.
The Procurement Hub has been working with Blue Light Commercial to deliver an e-Procurement portal that is available to both Police and Fire. This portal will replace the current Blue Light Portal, which is the predominant e-Procurement portal used across Police, along with the 13 Fire and Rescue Services below;
- Cleveland County Durham and Darlington
- Devon and Somerset
- Dorset and Wiltshire
- East Sussex
- Hereford and Worcester
- North Yorkshire
- Royal Berkshire
- Tyne and Wear
- West Midlands
Blue Light Commercial are in the final stages of the tender process to find an innovative replacement portal. The new portal will go live in November 2022. This will be available to all Fire and Police Authorities to participate at that time. Currently we are unable to release any further information regarding the new portal until such time that the contract has been formally awarded.
The Home Office are very keen for Police and Fire to use the same portal, which will provide greater opportunities for blue light collaboration as the portal will become a single repository for all our tendering and contracts information. The data held on the portal is the very same data that the Procurement Hub request on numerous occasions directly from each FRS in order to undertake trend analysis of spend and to look ahead at forecast spend to see where we can all benefit from collaboration. Moving to this single portal will mean that, aside from annual spend data as required by the Home Office, FRS will no longer have to complete category specific returns for this crucial data, saving time and resource in duplicating records. As I mentioned, it will also enable the Procurement Hub to work more closely with Blue Light Commercial to look at opportunities for collaboration across Police and Fire, something that the Home Office is very clear needs to happen.
The Procurement Hub has submitted a proposal to the Home Office for funding for our Sector to on-board for the first year in order that we may pilot the portal and enable the Procurement Hub to undertake an assessment of the benefits realised throughout the year. This, we hope, will encourage all FRS to participate in the pilot and will give us sufficient evidence to continue with the single portal thereafter.
The Home Office has confirmed that they are prepared to support the pilot with funding, provided we have sufficient take up across the Sector. In order to secure the funding, we need to confirm with the Home Office how many FRS will be joining this pilot by the end of next week (11th March).
Call for Interest:
As stated above, we already have 13 FRS who we assume will move to the new portal, with Kent Fire and Rescue taking the number up to 14! We really hope that this is an opportunity that all FRS will want to take up – the more that get involved, the more likely we are to receive the funding!
I would therefore be grateful if you could encourage your teams to respond to the attached invitation to participate . Whilst the deadline was originally set for the 10th March 22, we are still interested in hearing from all FRSs.
Responses to be sent via the contact us form on our website
Thank you for your support.