Public Services Education

Developing good practice in purchasing professional services

Researching and producing a good practice guidance manual for use by further education colleges in procuring the services of professional advisers.

Further education establishments were being pressed to secure value for money. A study was commissioned of the appointment and use of professional service providers by the colleges. The aim of the study was:

• to assess and make recommendations on effectiveness, efficiency, propriety, and economy in this area of spend.

• to prepare good practice guidance and case study examples based both on the study’s findings and on our experience in other sectors.

• to provide relevant advice, in the form of a good practice guide, for college governors, senior managers, and operational managers.

Sterling arranged and carried out a programme of discussions with authoritative people in 10% of F.E. colleges to learn about practices, policies, procedures, and problems. A project steering committee, which included a member of NAO’s staff who was seconded to Sterling’s team, rigorously monitored the work.

The results of the interviews were validated by means of a postal questionnaire to every college. We also had discussions with a sample of suppliers of professional services to learn how F. E. colleges fared as clients, and how they compared with clients from other sectors. With this balanced background, Sterling then investigated in more detail at a few F.E. project contracts to identify lessons to be learnt from them.

The work produced a very readable, intelligible good practice guide directly related to the needs of its intended users.

Home | About Sterling | Where we are? | Contact Us

Sterling Management Consultants based in Worcester West Midlands