Delivering Our 5C's: Deliver Commercially

Posted: Thursday 25th March 2021
Delivering our 5C’s: Deliver Commercially

Welcome to the first in our new blog series “Delivering our 5C’s” where we will be discussing how we are working towards achieving the bold and challenging ambitions set out in our new Business Plan.

Our Business Plan sets out 5 objectives on which we will deliver, these are:

STARs 5 Objectives, each within a circle: Supporting Communities, Delivery Commercially, Build Collaboration, Provide Confidence, Be Courageous

This week Michael Sellors, one of our Procurement Business Partner’s talks about our objective “Deliver Commercially”.

Here at STAR, we support our Partners in procuring a variety of goods, services, and works in the region of £1bn per annum. In addition, we support a range of other customers (Councils, Combined Authorities, Schools, Wholly Owned Companies, etc.) in procuring their various needs of hundreds of millions of pounds per annum.

It is has always been important for us to help our Partners and Customers achieve value for money, and deliver savings that will help them provide quality services in the backdrop of an ageing population and reducing government grant. In the conditions presented by COVID-19, both economic and to public health, and the ongoing impacts it has presented our Partners, we recognise that now more than ever, it is crucial that we deliver savings, efficiencies, and a return on investment for our Partners.

Through our Category Management approach, our Category Managers and Heads of Strategic Procurement are working even more closely with our Partners (commissioners and accountants) to identify savings opportunities in budgets over the next 3 years, and ensure these are captured and realised through our activities, be this through:

  • Challenge (do we need to buy),
  • Market Engagement:
    • Different ways of doing things,
    • Innovation,
  • Existing Market Knowledge and Expertise,
  • Greater Collaboration (increased buying power / economies of scale),
  • Lotting (encouraging local SMEs),
  • Supporting Contract Management activity,
  • Other methods,

Being commercial isn’t just about cash savings and cutting costs it is about procuring wisely to deliver the best outcomes and value for money. Last year we were able to deliver savings of £7m+ whilst also exceeding all our social value targets and increasing our spend with local businesses and SME’s.

Being commercial is about driving efficiencies in process and procedures, both for our benefit and our Partners and Suppliers.  Our ‘Simplify’ Squad helps to us to continue to identify possible efficiencies and areas for continuous improvement.  We also explore new technologies which is leading to a brand new Procurement Handbook on our website, online internal forms, introducing a chat bot on our website, introducing a contract management system, and hope to implement some of these in the next few months.

To ensure we provide the best Return on Investment possible to our Partners, we at STAR implemented a savings plan on our own budget for 20/21, and have taken the opportunity that news ways of working in 21/22 will bring. We also continue to explore options to further develop a sustainable business model and growth (Build – Diversify – Expand):


20/21 was an interesting year, we had just finalised the development of our Collaboration Accreditation Review, as well as a wide range of services including service / business reviews. We were excited to launch this only for COVID-19 to hit, and disrupt the global economy its focus. We are looking forward to 21/22 where things will be returning a little more back to normal, and where we will be able to support many public bodies in either providing them with confidence in the value their shared service brings them, or supporting them in realising efficiencies and improvements.

Over the past few years we have supported a number of customers in their procurement activities (GMCA, Totally Local Company Ltd, GM Health and Social Care Partnership, Centre for Ageing Better, as well as a number of primary and secondary schools), we have also supported a number of organisations in improvement projects and service reviews (Basildon Council, Sandwell Council, and Coventry City Council) and look forward to working with them again over the next few years.

In 20/21 we were successful at becoming a Bloom Accredited Supplier across a number of categories, as well as placing on the ESPO Catering Support Framework Agreement, enabling us to provide our services through multiple channels. We look forward to securing more channels through which we can provide our services, as well as promoting and delivering our wide range of services and continuing to explore diversification options and innovation through developing new approaches, new markets, products and techniques, to deliver more and better outcomes for our Partners and beyond, creating a more sustainable future.