Happy ten-year anniversary for STAR

Posted: Thursday 7th March 2024

This month marks ten years since STAR Procurement was first established. If this were a marriage, then the traditional gift would be tin. Although this doesn’t sound very glamorous, I think tin is the perfect representation for us, it represents strength and adaptability, it endures and remains unharmed by time’s challenges. After a decade together, the bond is strong and durable, and symbolizes the resilience that keeps a marriage going, or in our case our procurement shared service.

In 2014 we formed which was a monumental achievement in bringing together three Authorities from three different political parties to form the first procurement shared service. As with any large-scale change, this wasn’t easy as we tried to recruit and retain a workforce whilst also implement the changes required to be a successful and genuine shared service including the implementation of a category management approach across all Partners. 

A couple of years in we had standardised our rules, created a procurement strategy, established a contract register, and had a stable and productive workforce in place. This set our firm foundations to develop into a high performing shared service. Our success continued with us securing demonstrable savings, building a rigorous approach to Social Value into our procurement and investing into a ‘grow your own’ policy to recruit and retain the best procurement professionals. This success was recognised and in 2018 Tameside Council joined STAR as our fourth Partner, and STAR’s evolution really began to take shape and gather momentum.

In 2019, STAR began to have a planned strategy and commercial approach to selling their procurement services to public sector organisations outside of our existing four Partners. We recognised the need for sector to sector support, and the benefits that collaboration could bring. STAR now delivers commissions across the country from Basildon to Barrow and Anglesey to Birmingham Councils, as well as supporting our neighbours such as Bury, Manchester and Salford. Annually we secure significant income for STAR to help ensure the future financial sustainability of the shared service.

Our most recent success is the further growth of STAR to include Knowsley and St Helens Councils. This growth spans into the Liverpool City Region and demonstrates how STAR has adapted to opportunities and demonstrates that pan-regional collaboration can be done successfully. We are the first pan-regional procurement shared service in the country.

I am extremely proud of our team and how they have adapted and come with us on our journey. They have embraced the changes, being enthusiastic and championed STAR internally and externally. At a time when procurement recruitment and retention is exceptionally difficult, our ‘grow your own’ policy and approach has been invaluable to recruiting and retaining an excellent and motivated workforce and strong team. We invest in procurement apprenticeships, training, coaching, and provide opportunities for or team to learn, widen their experience and empower them to deliver strategic projects and programmes of activity.

The legacy we have in place after ten years is a resilient, sustainable, and high performing procurement shared service that is delivering to its founder Partners, new Partners and the wider public sector. The hard work over the last ten years has set very strong foundations to continue to drive forward, and most importantly using procurement to deliver the best possible outcomes for our residents and communities. 

So the traditional gift for 10 year marriage is tin, but the modern gift is diamonds owing to diamonds being strong and durable. I think that diamonds also represents the extra sparkle that STAR has brought to procurement and will continue to bring over the coming years!

Lorrainer Cox, Director

March 2024