Fusion21 launches second sector procurement trends survey

Survey last year showed associations increasingly acknowledging the strategic value of procurement teams.

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Fusion21 is surveying procurement professionals for the second year running to find out more about the key drivers behind procurement decisions in the housing sector.

This time around, the survey will also take in individuals’ views on how external factors such as The Hackitt Report and Brexit influence the way they work and will offer an insight into topics including recruitment and asset spending patterns.

Last year’s survey, and the resulting Procurement Trends Report, revealed that organisations up and down the country were increasingly acknowledging the strategic value of their procurement teams, with more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents reporting procurement as a considered a strategic function.

In the wake of the Grenfell disaster, results confirmed compliance had been the focus of renewed scrutiny.

More than half (51%) of those surveyed said the tragedy had led to their organisation placing greater emphasis on quality when making procurement decisions, especially in relation to fire safety.

Other key findings from the 2018 survey included:

  • Three quarters (75%) of procurement professionals described compliance as “extremely important” when achieving value for money. However, 55% said they still felt under pressure to procure at the lowest price
  • More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents said Brexit will change the way they buy goods and services. Yet, out of the important factors that could potentially impact procurement professionals’ work, almost half said rent cuts for social housing were the most significant
  • One in five (22%) said their organisation planned to grow their procurement team over 12 months
  • Outsourcing procurement in order to access technical expertise that do not exist in-house was still a popular option, with more than half (57%) of respondents going down this route

The Procurement Trends Report is intended to highlight how the value of the procurement role within housing organisations is changing.

With more than two-thirds of procurement professionals saying procurement is now viewed as a strategic function, the Survey was one of the first to test opinions of The Public Services (Social Value) Act.

It revealed a real range of views about the effectiveness of the legislation among procurement professionals – which seemed to result from varying local contexts and supplier relationships.

To Fusion21 it was “encouraging” to see more than half of respondents as comfortable outsourcing procurement when they don’t have the necessary skills or capacity.

It was also a positive that more than one in five (22%) of procurement professionals who took part in the survey reported their organisation had plans to grow their procurement team.

At a time when there is more pressure to demonstrate compliance and best value, the importance of a strong procurement function is increasingly clear to housing providers, the survey said.