When three become four…STAR welcomes Tameside Council!

It’s been a busy few months as we have prepared for Tameside to join the STAR fold.  But now seems a good time to reflect on the journey we have come on, what Tameside joining means for STAR and what the future may hold.

STAR was pretty unique when it first formed as a shared procurement service. We were three Councils, with different political leadership, not geographically located next to each other, and with different economies and priorities.  However, over the last four years we have been able to prove that these have not been obstacles and have instead helped us to develop to where we are now, which is a national award-winning shared service that is delivering fantastic outcomes for our communities.  So far we have delivered over £20m of savings, over 500 employment opportunities, embraced social value, launched Local Investment initiative, and have recruited and retained a fantastic team of over 30 professionals.

Back in November last year, we were asked by Tameside to review their procurement function, and I was asked to lead this for STAR.  It was an interesting piece of work that identified the risks as well as the opportunities for Tameside, as well as giving us the opportunity to reflect on where we are with our current three Authorities.  But what I found more than anything was the warm welcome I received and the clear understanding of the value that excellent procurement can bring to an organisation.

Since then we have been working through the governance arrangements for Tameside to become a fourth partner to STAR Procurement. This was not straight forward but by mid-Summer we had all the approvals in place and set a date of 3rd September to launch.

That day has now arrived!  We have been doing a lot of work with Tameside in the build up to this launch…. and this is just the start!  We have a lot of work to do and plans are in place to not only deliver procurement but to align processes, procedures and policies, and start to deliver the outcomes we know can be achieved through great procurement.

I think it’s safe to say, the easy bit is done, and now the hard work begins!  But I am confident that we can deliver a professional procurement service to Tameside that will also bring benefits to our founding members through collaboration, economies of scale, sharing lessons learnt and the continuous development of the team.

We are now one year into our Business Plan and we are well on our way to achieving the vision and objectives we set ourselves.  The world of procurement does not stay still for long and there are new challenges emerging all the time… what will Brexit bring?  What does the collapse of Carillion mean for public procurement?  Can single use plastics be tackled through procurement?  How can we spend more with our local supply chains?  Will STAR continue to grow and diversify? Watch this space!

The future for STAR is bright and it’s a privilege to be asked to lead this exciting development of on-boarding Tameside into our organisation.

Nichola Cooke
Head of Strategic Procurement
September 2018

Posted on Tuesday 4th September 2018