As 2019 draws to a close, the Workforce Alliance has been setting out its aspirations for next year and beyond.

Managing Directors from NHS Procurement in Partnership and Helen MacCarthy, Health and Education Category Director, Crown Commercial Service, came together at the HCSA Conference in Harrogate to set out their vision for Workforce Alliance and the benefits it can provide to NHS Trusts.

As the biggest public procurement partnership in the UK, Workforce Alliance brings together the procurement and commercial expertise of the NHS and Crown Commercial Service, and through its collaborative, solutions-based approach, it’s already helping ensure that NHS trusts have quick and easy access to a sustainable workforce.

The panel outlined their plans for the partnership, and what benefits are available to customers. They answered questions on the role of robotics in the workforce, and the benefits to public sector procurement professionals of working with the Alliance. Chaired by NHSI’s South Regional Head of Procurement Mark Gronow, the panel was quizzed about lessons learnt, how the Alliance will achieve its goals and how its work is benefitting NHS trusts and public sector bodies.

As Michael Pace, NHS London Procurement Partnership’s Managing Director, explains: ‘Workforce Alliance is about a lot more than just frameworks. As an NHS business partner, we work in close collaboration with other NHS organisations to develop carefully tailored workforce solutions. It is only through this collaborative approach and building strategic business partnerships with our customers that we can properly understand their needs and provide the most effective solutions. And we do so with the patient at the heart of everything we do.’

Alyson Brett, Managing Director at NHS Commercial Solutions, said: “We are committed to developing the whole portfolio of health workforce services, and Workforce Alliance is the embodiment of how important partnerships are, and our committed approach to working together and sharing our many years of experience has already helped us to deliver frameworks in key areas including international recruitment, staff bank and temporary staffing.”

Asked about what lessons have been learnt along the way, Managing Director of NHS North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative Keith Rowley, said: “We have learnt a lot but equally we know there is a lot more for us as a collaborative to learn as we evolve.

“The breadth of skills and experience, not just among the managing directors, but among our teams as well across the five partners means that we can offer that expertise on a local level. As an alliance we want to use the expertise and relationships we have to influence those decision makers to create benefits on a local and national scale.”

Helen MacCarthy, Health and Education Category Director for Crown Commercial Service, said: “By working with the Workforce Alliance, customers can access a depth and breadth of expertise, resource and geographical reach.”

She added: “There is a lot of passion within these teams, we are surrounded and supported by people who give up their time to make a difference. By coming together and ensuring we deliver quick and easy access to tools and support to ensure our customers have what they need to create a sustainable workforce, we can influence the market and ensure our customers and suppliers have confidence in the service we deliver.

“As one of our customers recently said: ‘We are always there with our expert procurement knowledge to support them with any workforce issues they may encounter’.”

Howard Rolfe, Managing Director of the East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub, said the offering from Workforce Alliance was truly responsive to customer need.

He added: “All our business models are customer focused, we are committed to providing a personalised service. Only through our collaborative approach and building strategic partnerships can we properly understand the requirements of the market and tailor solutions to address customer needs.”

There’s more information on the Workforce Alliance and its agreements here.

Photo: © Paul Dawson HCSA 2019