Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal
Procurement Efficiency Measurement Model: Annual survey
1. This letter requests that all higher education institutions (HEIs) complete the Procurement Efficiency Measurement Model (EMM) survey for 2012-13 data, by 28 August 2014. Most HEIs have responded to the survey in previous years, and extending the coverage will result in stronger evidence to Government on the sector’s efficiency.
2. In previous years the annual EMM survey has been used to evidence procurement efficiencies delivered in the higher education sector set against efficiency targets set by Government under previous comprehensive spending reviews. As part of its response to the Diamond Review on efficiency and effectiveness in the higher education sector, HEFCE has updated this year’s survey; however it is similar to previous years.
3. The information asked for by the EMM survey provides useful evidence in many contexts:
- It provides a tool which heads of procurement teams can use to inform their institution’s senior management teams and committees of governors about the spread of activity of procurement teams and the benefits delivered by this investment.
- A full EMM report sets out the contribution made by purchasing consortia, and sets out the level of participation in collaborative contracts; for the latter the Diamond Review set a target of 30 per cent for English HEIs.
- The information can show the benefit from investment in areas such as e-marketplaces and purchasing cards in keeping down administration costs of institutions.
- Finally, EMM is a vital component in the sector’s Procurement Maturity Assessments (PMAs). These report on how well institutions use procurement and purchasing expertise, and help embed them in institutional activities, as well as supporting benchmarking activity. Over 80 HEIs have completed at least one PMA.
4. The vast majority of HEIs submitted information to the survey last year. This has ensured good coverage of the sector’s performance on procurement, which has supported evidence submitted to Government on delivery of efficiency targets.
5. Our desire to extend coverage of the survey to all HEIs this year is not driven by targets; rather it denotes a general imperative to evidence that the sector is operating efficiently, as set out in the grant letter to HEFCE from Government in February 2014. We will report on progress to Government using the information from the survey; note this will be anonymised.
6. The British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG) is facilitating this year’s EMM survey working with the North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium, and has written to all finance directors, procurement managers and regional purchasing consortia with details of how to access it. We strongly encourage all HEIs to participate.
7. There will undoubtedly be a need to continue collecting information on procurement activities within the sector to support evidence around efficiencies. We will work with BUFDG, Universities UK and other sector bodies to see whether there are more streamlined approaches to collecting this information in future years.
8. Full details of where to direct queries are included in the communication to finance directors. Initial responses to the survey need to be completed by 28 August 2014, with the final sign off being 12 September 2014.
Professor Madeleine Atkins