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"Brilliant service, great people to work with, fair prices."

Housing Association (North West)
"Cirrus Purchasing has provided us with the benchmarking we required to make an informed business decision, we look forward to working with you in the future."

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

Housing Association (North West)
"I would like to thank both Claire and Mike for their work on the tenders, they made the process very easy."

National Energy Consultancy
"The best thing about the project was the added value provided, and also the sense that Cirrus wanted the very best for us."

Housing Association (North West)
"The feedback was specific to our company and included information that was important to us. The experience was very enlightening. Overall we are very satisfied.”

SME Contractor (North West)
News

Latest stories

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.

New member of the Cirrus consultancy team
11th April 2018
We are really pleased to welcome Caroline Mooney to the Cirrus consultancy team.

Caroline brings a unique skill set with extensive experience in IT business analysis and hands-on delivery of IT logistics projects in the retail FMCG and technology sectors.

Caroline says:

"I’m really happy to be joining Cirrus Purchasing as a Trainee Procurement Consultant at such an exciting and interesting time for the company and our clients. I’m looking forward to utilising my 20+ years’ experience in IT to help to continue delivering the highest levels of procurement services."

Caroline can be contacted via cmooney@cirruspurchasing.co.uk or 07398 190832

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]

Older news

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.

Trainee Procurement Consultant vacancy at Cirrus
30th January 2018
As a result of our continued success, we are recruiting for a new member of the Cirrus team in the full time role of Trainee Procurement Consultant. This is an exciting opportunity for the right individual to begin a long term procurement career within a growing and dynamic business.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 16th February 2018.

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.

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.

Oldest news

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
Procurex North 2017
27th February 2017
We are excited to announce that Cirrus will be exhibiting at the Procurex North conference on 21st March at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Part of the North of England’s Festival of Procurement, Procurex North will host CPD Certified training sessions, keynote speakers and networking zones.

For more information on the conference please visit www.procurexlive.co.uk/north/

We will be exhibiting on stand 37b. If you will be in attendance and would like to meet at the conference to discuss how Cirrus can help with your procurement needs, please contact us at:

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

Mike Barnett Tel: 07572 108320 or email: mbarnett@cirruspurchasing.co.uk
New social housing regulator is proposed
30th November 2016
The Government has announced its recommendation for the regulatory function of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to become a new standalone regulator of registered social housing providers. This proposal comes as a result of a review of the HCA.

The Government's proposal states:

"Since the establishment of HCA’s investments arm (HCA-I) in 2014, the Agency has expanded into commercial investments. This has made the HCA, in some cases, both a secured creditor and regulator of registered providers. This potential conflict of interest did not exist when the decision was made to incorporate social housing regulation within the HCA, as at that time the Agency’s funding predominantly focused on grant-making".

The amendment is intended to address the potential conflict of interest arising from the current HCA arrangement and enhance a strategic focus and improve transparency without disrupting business operations.

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

“This change is to the organisational structure and governance of the regulator only, and will not impact on our regulatory approach or day-to-day operations.”

A consultation into the proposal for the HCA’s regulatory function to become a separate body ran from 30th November 2016 to 27th January 2017. The outcome will soon be available here.
NHF Smaller Housing Associations' Conference and Exhibition 2016
6th October 2016
On the 3rd November 2016, Cirrus are speaking at the National Housing Federation Smaller Housing Associations' Conference and Exhibition in London on the subject of The changing face of procurement. We will identify the main changes affecting social housing procurement for smaller housing associations and discuss how to adapt and implement best practice.

If you are attending the event and would like to meet with us, please contact Claire Paton (07828 143935) or Mike Barnett (07572 108320). We look forward to seeing you there.

Further information about the conference is available at http://smalls.housing.org.uk
Updated contact details for Claire Gamble
15th August 2016
We are especially pleased to announce Cirrus Director of Consultancy Claire Gamble has recently married. Consequently, Claire's surname and email address have now changed.

Claire's new contact details are:

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