The Challenge

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist mental health services to people of all ages in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, forensic mental health services across the Thames Valley, services for children and adolescents in Bath and North East Somerset as well as specialist eating disorder services for adults in Wiltshire.  The Trust also provides community health services to people in Oxfordshire.  The NHS is currently working towards delivering £20 billion savings by 2015 as part of the national efficiency programme, which requires annual efficiencies of 4%.  As part of this programme Oxford Health was required to make savings of £11.3 million in the 2013/14 financial year.

With these challenges in mind, Oxford Health initiated a trust-wide procurement review to optimise their supplier relationships and deliver Cost Base Reduction (CBR).  The Trust chose to work with Procure4 recognising that as a team of supply chain management specialists, Procure4 would provide additional expertise, capacity and support to help the Trust achieve the targeted efficiencies.

The Approach

Procure4 undertook a detailed spend analysis opportunity assessment of £90 million of non-pay spend and through analysis, stakeholder engagement and the development of approach strategies, a pipeline of categories were identified as opportunities to deliver CBR within the financial year.  Once this scoping element of the programme was complete, our Category Leaders worked closely with stakeholders to deliver the CBR Plan.  The range of categories addressed included dental and medical consumables, agency staff, non-emergency patient transport, hosted telephony services, IT hardware, ward furniture and office furniture.

The Results

The project team addressed around £10m of spend and delivered c£2m of CBR, an average of 20% savings.  Quick wins were delivered in the sourcing of IT Hardware, Ward Furniture and Office Furniture by carrying out secondary competition within existing frameworks. 

Commercial and qualitative benefits were also achieved for the hosted telephony service which involved moving from a Capex- to an Opex-based model.  Positive and collaborative working relationships were fostered between Procure4 and the key stakeholders within Informatics which meant that despite the complexities of the project, the delivery team were able to swiftly overcome challenges.  Dominic McKenny, Head of Informatics stated: “It was a real pleasure working with Bev and Tim from Procure4 on the recent Cloud Telephony procurement.  They managed to effectively balance the provision of the necessary procurement domain expertise and guidance to ensure the Trust was legally compliant, with the need to pragmatically support the Trust to move this significant procurement forward at a steady pace to a successful conclusion.  The amount of energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by Bev and Tim for how a professional procurement service can support busy frontline managers is a refreshing change.  Bev’s particular expert touch and diligence through the contract negotiation stage ensured the Trust maximised the opportunity presented.  The objective of the procurement phase of this Cloud Telephony project was to establish a solution that has the potential to deliver improved services, but at a much reduced cost.   Thanks in no short measure to the expertise of Bev and Tim this objective has been achieved.”

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is delighted with the results achieved by the project and by its experience of working with Procure4, as summarised by the Trust’s Deputy Finance Director, Paul Dodd, in his testimonial below:   

Key Facts

20% Average CBR Delivered

Testimonial from Oxford Health NHS

We engaged Procure4 to work with the Trust in the delivery of a substantial Cost Base Reduction exercise as part of the Trust’s Cost Improvement Programme, and to support the transformation of our procurement services that have been brought in-house. They are working in partnership with our internal procurement resource in a ‘One-Team’ approach so that all staff feel supported and fully engaged in all activities. Procure4 operate in a very structured way and with a high level of transparency; the planning, delivery and review process and associated timescales are clear and they deliver to this with regular reporting. The gains to date have been significant and would not have been possible within these timeframes or at these levels without their support. Procure4 are experts in their field; they are highly professional and effective at building relationships, they operate with speed but due diligence to deliver benefits that would otherwise be lost.
I would highly recommend their services to other NHS organisations.


Paul Dodd, Deputy Director of Finance

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