Case Study - Single vision for procurement

Improving efficiencies and standardising procurement practices are key for any organisation, but for one public sector organisation, these aims are going from a local level to a national one. By April next year, the single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be delivered and for procurement teams, that means an opportunity to examine all aspects of buying procedures and, wherever possible, the ability to standardise and take advantage of purchasing collaborations.


As business and procurement manager for the Scottish Fire Services College based in Gullane, Brian Bunyan has been involved in the transitional process of preparing the College and the eight regional fire and rescue services to merge into one national force. The College is a national workforce development resource for the fire service, and Brian is responsible for procurement and the support of learning and development training, both on site or through other partners and through e-learning.

Procurement across the fire service, including the College, is already conducted in general through PCS, and it is hoped that the merger of the eight regional services will see a greater degree of procurement standardisation and best practice.

Brian said: “The College has an annual spend of circa £6million, with contracts ranging from outsourced training providers delivering specialist operational skills, such as Water Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue to cleaning and catering suppliers for the residential training facilities. The College plays an important part in the local economy and we try to provide opportunities for suppliers in the area as much as possible.

“There has been a focus on reforming procurement practices on the run up to the creation of the single service, and I have been involved in the fire service reform group where examining areas of collaborative procurement arrangements and standardisation are priority objectives.

“The creation of a single service not only impacts on procurement functions, but it will change procurement rules – the eight regional services will change from local authority responsibility to become aligned with central government as an ‘Other Significant Public Body’.

“It is a very exciting time for the fire service, and although the transition will bring with it some challenges, there is great scope for delivering a range of benefits through sharing best practice and taking advantage of economies of scale and improved value for money.”