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"The project was delivered on time and to cost, transfer occurred on the target date and all project milestones were achieved on time."

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"I would like to thank both Claire and Mike for their work on the tenders, they made the process very easy."

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Latest stories

Supplier Focus No.3: Rexel
27th September 2018
The Cirrus Consortium Supplier Focus feature showcases the range of specialist services and benefits on offer to Consortium members from suppliers under our frameworks.


Rexel is the latest supplier to be featured from the Cirrus Consortium Materials Framework. Rexel is an electrical distributor with a 250 branch network across the UK offering everything from lighting and circuit protection to electrical wiring, industrial controls and safety and work wear. They also offer power tools and site equipment.

Rexel describe their Social Housing service offering:
“We really understand that the safety and comfort of your residents is your key priority. Making sure that you can get what you need, when you need it, so that you are delivering the best service and improving lives. Alongside our market leading own brand we also work with your specification manufacturers to meet your day-to-day core electrical requirements and also add real value with innovative products, services and solutions."

To see the full feature and to find out more about Rexel, click here.

For further information on the Cirrus Consortium frameworks, or the suppliers available under each framework, please contact us.
‘No deal’ Brexit: Accessing public sector contracts
18th September 2018
Last week the government issued a series of papers to provide guidance in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place (a ‘no deal’ Brexit). While they stress this is unlikely, the notices provide information to allow the UK to prepare for a 'no deal' Brexit scenario.

The papers covered various topics such as mobile roaming, driving in the EU and data protection. Along with these, a paper was also published to provide advice on accessing public sector contracts.

Should we reach 29th March 2019 without a Brexit deal; a UK specific e-notification service will be made available to replace the current requirement to advertise on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) via Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). Contracting authorities will need to make provisions to post notices on the new UK e-notification platform rather than OJEU/TED. The paper indicates that the new service will be available from the day the UK exits the EU and will be free of charge for all users.

The requirement to advertise on Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI would remain.

Many contracting authorities currently use third parties to publish their notices via tender portals or similar. The government advises that testing is currently underway to ensure these services can continue post Brexit, with the relevant notices being published to the UK e-notification service.

Following a 'no deal', suppliers are able to continue to use OJEU/TED to access opportunities from the EU if they wish to do so, however if they wish to access contract opportunities within the UK they will also need to utilise the new e-notification service.
Supplier Focus No.2: Building Careers
4th September 2018
The Cirrus Consortium Supplier Focus feature showcases the range of specialist services and benefits on offer to Consortium members from suppliers under our frameworks.

Building Careers UK is the first supplier to be featured from the Cirrus Consortium Agency Labour Framework. As a Part B service framework, members have significantly more flexibility and freedom over selection and award than under the updated 2015 Public Contracts Regulations.

Building Careers offer permanent and temporary staffing solutions to both the public and private sector, including bespoke packages for SMEs to large scale key account managed services for some of the UK’s top 10 construction companies.

Working in partnership with a diverse customer base of candidates and clients Building Careers has successfully grown into one of the UK's leading specialist construction and property recruiters.

For further information on the Cirrus Consortium frameworks, or the suppliers available under each framework, please contact us.

Older news

Is your organisation prepared for the additional eProcurement requirements?
4th September 2018


In less than two months, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 #102 (the public procurement legislation) impose additional eProcurement rules on contracting authorities.

From 18th October 2018, all elements of communication and information exchange conducted during the procurement process must be carried out electronically for above EU threshold procedures. This includes the requirement for tender submissions to be received through an online system that meets certain technical requirements. These requirements are imposed to ensure the security of responses and the integrity of the tender process.

...[more]

New addition to the Cirrus Purchasing team
20th August 2018
We are pleased to welcome Lucy Jackson to the team as Operations Coordinator here at Cirrus Purchasing.

Lucy graduated with a first-class honours degree in Journalism in 2016 and went on to work in Hospitality and Sales in New Zealand for a year. More recently Lucy’s role in Marketing and Communications in the housing sector has equipped her with skills in social media, which she hopes to bring to the role to further develop our LinkedIn presence.

Lucy is responsible for all back office business administration within Cirrus, as well as supplier-side administration for Cirrus Consortium frameworks. She will also provide support services for the consultancy team.

You can contact Lucy on 07983 532407 or alternatively email her at ljackson@cirruspurchasing.co.uk.
Cirrus Consortium Supplier Focus
1st August 2018
We are proud to announce the launch of our new Cirrus Consortium Supplier Focus feature!

The initiative showcases the range of services and added value benefits available to Consortium members from suppliers under the Cirrus Consortium frameworks. The feature will be regularly updated with a different participating supplier on our website and LinkedIn pages.


Magnet is our first featured supplier. With 180 branches and a comprehensive distribution coverage across the UK, Magnet offers the full range of kitchen materials and services that may be required by contracting authorities. This includes supply of flat-pack and readymade kitchen units, adapted kitchen items, delivery of materials direct to site and a kitchen design service. Magnet is available through the Cirrus Kitchens framework and also holds a position on the Kitchens lot of the Cirrus Materials framework.

For further information on the Cirrus Consortium frameworks, or the suppliers available under each framework, please contact us.
CIH Housing 2018 - free prize draw winner
28th June 2018
We have really enjoyed exhibiting at CIH Housing 2018. Thank you to everyone who visited our stand. It has been great meeting up with existing clients and making new contacts.

Congratulations to Graham Kneale at Magenta Living who has won our free prize draw for a day's worth of free procurement consultancy.

If you were unable to attend the exhibition but would like to find out more about our services, please contact a member of the Cirrus consultancy team or visit our services page.
CIH Housing 2018 - Two weeks to go
12th June 2018
There are only two weeks to go until CIH Housing 2018!

We will be exhibiting on stand F38 at the event in Manchester Central, taking place 26th-28th June.

The Cirrus team will be available to discuss how our consultancy services can support your organisation and answer any procurement queries you may have.

We look forward to seeing you there. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Claire Paton via cpaton@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07828 143935.

For more information on the event, please visit cihhousing.com

We've done it again, carbon negative
24th May 2018
Minimising the environmental impact of our business activities is very important to us - it's one of our core social values.

Our commitment to reducing climate change continues to be achieved as we remain a carbon negative company for an eighth consecutive year. Following our annual company-wide carbon assessment through carbonfootprint.com, we have offset the environmental impact beyond our calculated carbon emissions.

In the 8 years Cirrus has been carbon negative, we are proud to announce we have planted over 140 trees through our verified carbon reduction programme. We continue to make a positive contribution to improving the local environment in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, helping to provide wildlife habitats and employment opportunities for the local community. Further information about the programme can be found here.

Our 2017/18 certificate is available here.

As well as carbon offsetting, we promote initiatives to reduce carbon emissions within our business practices. This includes teleworking where appropriate to reduce commuting mileage, targeting 75% of business travel to be by public transport and prudent use of heating and lighting controls in the working environment.

The Apprenticeship Levy – One Year On
9th April 2018
It has been a year since the Apprenticeship Levy came into force throughout the United Kingdom. Since 6th April 2017 businesses with an annual payroll over £3 million have contributed 0.5% of their wage bill into an apprenticeship fund each month, offset by an annual allowance of £15,000.

The Levy has been introduced to help the Government reach its target of creating 3 million quality apprenticeships by 2020. In addition, employers with a wage bill less than £3 million will contribute just 10% towards the cost of training an apprentice, with the Government ‘co-investing’ the remaining 90% (up to a funding band maximum).

Organisations subject to the Levy are reminded that the money paid in, along with a 10% supplement from the Government, must be used within 24 months. Therefore, it should be viewed as a “use it or lose it” fund.

Whilst businesses have been paying the Levy, using the funding has not been as straightforward as expected. ...[more]

Reminder to publish payment performance data online
3rd April 2018
Contracting authorities are reminded of the requirement to publish their payment performance data online for the most recent financial year.

The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 #102 (the public procurement legislation) identify that the following must be published:

1. The percentage of undisputed invoices paid within 30 days,

2. The amount of interest paid to suppliers due to late payment and

3. The total amount of interest the organisation was liable to pay (whether or not paid and whether under any statutory or other requirement) due to late payment

Contracting authorities are required to publish this data to demonstrate their compliance with the obligation to pay invoices within 30 days as outlined under regulation 113 of the regulations.

The data outlined in points 1 to 3 should be made freely available via the internet and maintained until replaced by the following year's set of statistics. Contracting authorities can meet this requirement by posting the performance data on their website.

Sector Scorecard is launched for housing associations
19th March 2018
Following a successful pilot last year, the Sector Scorecard has now been launched for housing associations.

The initiative aims to provide a suite of metrics to enable housing associations of all sizes to benchmark their performance and assess the value for money that they deliver.

"It demonstrates the sector's accountability to its tenants and stakeholders, and includes measurements ranging from the number of new homes built to customer satisfaction." (sectorscorecard.com)

An independent advisory group has been created to govern the Scorecard with representatives from housing associations, the National Housing Federation and Chartered Institute of Housing.

For details on how to take part and benchmark your organisation's performance, please visit the Sector Scorecard website, available here.

New Value for Money standard and Code of Practice published
12th March 2018
Following our previous news article highlighting the consultation exercise for the proposals (October 2017), the regulator of Social Housing has now published the new Value for Money (VFM) standard.

The revised VFM standard and supporting code of practice applies to all private registered providers of social housing in England and takes effect from 1st April 2018.

Providers will no longer need to produce a narrative VFM self-assessment, but will be required to report their performance against seven sector-wide metrics within their annual accounts and also report their performance against individually focused targets.

The new VFM standard, code of practice and consultation analysis are included within a decision statement, available here. The VFM metrics are detailed within a technical note available here.

Providers may wish to review their strategic objectives and existing reporting procedures to incorporate the requirements of the new VFM standard.

Brand new look for Cirrus
5th March 2018
Today we are proud to announce the launch of our brand new logo and updated, mobile friendly website.

2017/18 has been another record year for Cirrus Purchasing. Looking forward to the next financial year, we thought it was time for a fresh new look.

Your feedback is really important to us. Visit our LinkedIn page and let us know what you think.

To keep up to date or get in touch with the team, visit us on LinkedIn or contact us.

New EU procurement threshold values to come into effect from 1st January 2018
19th December 2017
The new EU threshold values for public sector procurement have now been published. From 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2019, the values are as follows:

Works: 5,548,000 Euros = £4,551,413
Supplies: 221,000 Euros = £181,302
Services: 221,000 Euros = £181,302

The thresholds have increased compared to previous values, representing a £17,126 increase in the Supplies and Services thresholds and a £447,019 increase in the Works threshold.

Contracting authorities will need to ensure both staff and policy documentation are updated with the new values.

The Cirrus Consortium's latest framework is now available: Kitchen Materials Supply
13th November 2017
We are pleased to announce that the new Cirrus Consortium Kitchen Materials Supply Framework is now live and available for use by all contracting authorities across England, Wales and Scotland.

The tender process concluded in October 2017 and the framework will be available for 4 years until October 2021.

8 leading kitchen suppliers and manufacturers are available to use under the framework.

For further information, or to register to use the framework, please click here.

FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire & Wigan Business Awards 2017 Finalist
26th October 2017
Link to FSB Merseyside Awards Shortlist 2017We are extremely proud to announce that we have been shortlisted for The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Merseyside, West Cheshire & Wigan Business Awards 2017.

In recognition of our flexible working practices, investment in employee development and provision of cost beneficial quality services, Cirrus Purchasing is a finalist in the category of Micro Business of the Year.

We look forward to attending the award ceremony on Thursday 7th December 2017 at the Crowne Plaza in Liverpool to celebrate the success of small and medium-sized organisations based in the North West.

Oldest news

New Value for Money standard is proposed
16th October 2017
Social Housing regulator, The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), is proposing a revised Value for Money (VFM) standard and a supporting code of practice to take effect in April 2018.

Julian Ashby, chair of the HCA regulation committee, has said the proposal:

“Strengthens requirements for board accountability and enhances transparency through a focused, outcome-based approach to measuring and reporting value for money gains.”

The current VFM reporting requirement, a narrative self-assessment, would be replaced by the introduction of sector-wide metrics that all private registered providers would report their performance against. In addition to this, providers would be expected to define and report on their own targets to reflect their organisational needs.

A consultation has been launched, providing an opportunity for individuals to express their views on the development of the proposed standard. The consultation is open until 20th December 2017 and is available here.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Cirrus speaking on recent factors affecting procurement
29th August 2017
The introduction of new Government policies, procurement case law setting precedence and ongoing Brexit negotiations all influence public sector procurement. Cirrus is delivering an informative seminar session to discuss these factors at the forthcoming Direct Works Forum meeting in Coventry on Tuesday 12th September 2017.

"The Direct Works Forum is now firmly established as the representative body for Housing Associations, Local Authorities and RSLs employing their own trades staff to undertake repairs and maintenance. With over 100 members managing over 1,300,000 properties, the Forum represents the ideal vehicle for maintenance professionals to meet, network and share experience and innovation." (directworksforum.co.uk).

Our seminar session provides a great opportunity to explore the impact the recent changes have on procurement and we would be delighted if Forum members joined us to discuss how to respond effectively to maximise best practice procurement exercises.

If you are attending the event and would like to meet with Cirrus, please contact Claire Paton (07828 143935).

Further information about the Forum is available here.

New Cirrus Consortium Kitchen Materials Supply Framework now open to tender
2nd August 2017
We are excited to announce that the Cirrus Consortium is to establish a new Kitchen Materials Supply Framework in October 2017.

This framework, designed to expand upon the continued success of the Cirrus Consortium Materials Framework, will cover the full range of kitchen materials and associated services that may be required for planned investment programmes, void replacement kitchen installations, new build properties, and kitchen repairs and maintenance.

The tender for the framework has now been published and is available for completion. This is a great opportunity for kitchen manufacturers and suppliers to bid for a place on this multiple supplier framework, which will be available for use by all contracting authorities within England, Scotland and Wales.

The deadline for tender submissions is 12 noon, 4th September 2017.

Contracting authorities seeking further information about the Cirrus Consortium and its frameworks, please contact a member of the Cirrus consultancy team or visit our Frameworks page.

Claire Paton Tel: 07828 143935 or email: cpaton@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

Mike Barnett Tel: 07572 108320 or email: mbarnett@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

Wirral Business Awards 2017 Finalist
12th July 2017
Wirral Business Awards Finalist 2017We are delighted to be a finalist in the prestigious Wirral Business Awards 2017 in the category of People Development.

"Wirral Business Awards is a flagship competition, now recognised as one of North West's largest and most prestigious business events. It is a celebration of best business practice, entrepreneurship by recognising and rewarding excellence across all sectors and the positive impact businesses make on the local, national and international economy." (wirralbusinessawards.com)

An SME based in the Wirral but working throughout the UK, Cirrus have been shortlisted alongside multinational companies AF Global and Unilever. This is an acknowledgement of our innovative approach to staff development and training.

We look forward to the awards ceremony on 22nd September 2017 at Thornton Manor, Cheshire.

For further details of our awards, achievements and testimonials from our clients, please visit our Clients page.

Cirrus Purchasing carbon negative for 2017
31st May 2017
Following our annual company-wide carbon production audit through carbonfootprint.com, Cirrus is proud to announce that we have not only offset the impact to a carbon neutral position but we have chosen to continue offsetting beyond our calculated carbon emissions. We are therefore a carbon negative company for the seventh consecutive year.

Offsetting Certificate 2017.


Our verified carbon offset project is a tree planting programme in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, where planted trees not only help offset carbon dioxide, but help alleviate poverty through providing employment opportunities as well as providing wildlife habitats to support a sustainable local ecosystem. More information about the programme can be found here.

In addition to offsetting the carbon we produce, Cirrus is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its business activities. We achieve this by:

  • Targeting 75% of all business travel to be by public transport (2016/17 performance exceeded this, achieving 81%)
  • Using mobile and cloud technologies to ensure low carbon communications and processes
  • Prudent use of heating and lighting controls in the working environment
  • Encouraging teleworking where appropriate to reduce commuting mileage

Why the decommissioning of nuclear facilities is relevant to all contracting authorities
7th April 2017
A judge has found that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had breached its obligations under public sector procurement law when awarding a £6.1 billion nuclear decommissioning contract in 2014. Following this landmark High Court ruling, the Government will pay compensation totalling almost £100 million to two US firms.

The case underlines the major implications a successful procurement challenge can have for a contracting authority and demonstrates the importance of ensuring the rules outlined in the Public Contract Regulations are followed.

It was found that the NDA had “fudged” the tender procedure, wrongly deciding the outcome by changing a scoring mechanism at a late stage, in addition to inconsistently evaluating tender submissions.

The ruling highlights the crucial importance of defining suitable evaluation criteria at the start of the procurement process and ensuring the criteria is followed when scoring tender submissions. ...[more]

The Apprenticeship Levy - Investing in Training
6th April 2017
From today, 6th April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy has come into force throughout the United Kingdom. This is a tax that the Government has introduced to help meet its target of creating 3 million quality apprenticeships by 2020.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax which employers will need to pay if they have a payroll in excess of £3 million per annum. This money, supplemented by a contribution from the Government, will be set aside in a digital account to be spent with registered providers of apprenticeship training within 24 months. Access to this money is time limited, so should be viewed as a “use it or lose it” fund.

What if your payroll is less than £3 million?

Organisations do not need to have a payroll of over £3 million to benefit from the funding. ...[more]

Outsourced Procurement Team Contract Renewal
15th March 2017
We are extremely proud to announce that we are now in our sixth year of supporting First Ark Group as their outsourced procurement team.

Cirrus has worked with First Ark since 2011 and has delivered a hands on procurement service which has achieved millions of pounds of savings and enhanced procurement activity.

Our outsourced procurement service involves the Cirrus team acting as the procurement function for the entire First Ark Group and is an alternative to directly hiring procurement staff. In partnership with First Ark, the service combines planned procurement activity to address specific strategic and operational goals, with flexible ad hoc support to aid First Ark employees with day to day procurement requirements.

Tony Barwise, Strategic Director of Business Services at First Ark Group, says:

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Cirrus team over the next year in providing support to our evolving procurement approach as we continue to develop a wide range of Products & Services to meet our customer’s needs.”

To find out more about our outsourced procurement service or any of our other services, please contact a member of the Cirrus consultancy team or visit our Services page.

Claire Paton Tel: 07828 143935 or email: cpaton@cirruspurchasing.co.uk

Mike Barnett Tel: 07572 108320 or email: mbarnett@cirruspurchasing.co.uk
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