Wakefield-based YPO, the largest public sector buying organisation in the UK, created more than £7m in dividends for local authorities last year
The organisation, which was formed to use its bulk-buying power to boost public sector savings, is 100 per cent publicly owned by 13 local councils, which means all its profits are returned to the public purse.
Latest figures show that last year it returned £7.5m to the owning member authorities, meaning it has delivered a total £150m in dividends to councils since it was established in 1974.
Beginning life as the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation, YPO supplies products and services to a range of customers including schools, local authorities, charities, emergency services, nurseries and care homes, covering some 30,000 products and 80 public sector framework contracts, and its turnover reached £840m in 2018.
The procurement specialist has been reflecting on a string of firsts over the past 12 months, both internally and within the sector, including taking significant strides to focus on sustainability and social value.
In April, Melissa Bell was appointed to the newly created role of sustainable procurement manager, one of the first posts of its kind in the country. Ms Bell, who has worked at YPO for more than 15 years, is responsible for helping procurement teams develop environmentally aware practices by adding sustainable and social value outcomes to every tender, resulting in a lasting impact on customers as well as for the organisation.
In July, the organisation launched an Apprenticeship Framework – another UK first – to help public sector staff access apprenticeship training from a range of local and national suppliers and to make better use of the government’s apprenticeship levy which has ring-fenced funds for investment into training.
In a bid to ensure its resources can be accessed in the most effective way for customers, YPO also launched the UK’s first chatbot aimed at helping public sector buyers. The Procurement Information Provider, or PIP for short, helps users navigate YPO’s services as part of its ongoing strategy to continue to improve customer experience online.
Supporting schools is a major focus for YPO so the business was delighted to report that its Loyalty for Schools scheme – which sees the business share its profits with over 13,000 customers – administered £1.2m in loyalty vouchers for schools last year, meaning that since its inception seven years ago YPO has given back more than £11m in vouchers to schools.
One of its most celebrated collaborations was a joint venture with Henkel, Puffin and the Roald Dahl Story Company to develop a Roald Dahl party pack for Early Years for the first time.
Adding to its list of achievements, YPO hosted its first customer conference in September, The World of Procurement, created to help public sector organisations such as local authorities, emergency services, education, health and care companies, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities, understand the complex world of procurement in an especially tough economic climate. Through workshops, talks and discussion groups, procurement teams and suppliers were able to find answers to hot topics, ask questions and make valuable connections.
And it launched a ground-breaking series of monthly Meet the Buyer sessions for small, medium and large suppliers from across the UK to meet YPO buyers to discuss contract opportunities and share ideas for innovative procurement; it has also partnered with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the Yorkshire and Humber police forces to host monthly meetings with relevant suppliers.
For more information, and to find out how YPO could help your organisation boost its purchasing power, visit www.ypo.co.uk