PROCUREMENT HEADS BLOG

The Big Interview with Rob Webb

Rob Webb is Director of Procurement & Commercial Services at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. He recently spoke with Hayley Packham about the Head of Purchasing role she is recruiting for at Salisbury Hospital.

Watch Hayley’s conversation with Rob Webb or read their discussion about the role below

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am the Director of Procurement at Salisbury District Hospital but I am also the Accountable Lead for the integrated care system within Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire and that means I have a responsibility for Great Western Hospitals in Swindon, and also RUH Bath.

All three are acute hospital providers in the region and I am responsible for basically taking a business case forward and forming one team to provide the procurement services for all three trusts, which will be known at the BSW Acute Hospital Procurement Service so it is a really exciting time within the region and within the NHS around the formation of this team.

What about the projects you have in the pipeline for this year?

Yes, we have got a lot of projects and transformation initiatives ongoing within the three trusts.

We have got new systems being put in place in terms of purchase to pay systems going in at Salisbury, we have got inventory management solutions being rolled out at RUH Bath and Great Western Hospitals.

We have also got some significant infrastructure projects going on and lots of strategic projects around the redevelopment of hospital sites, all three sites are quite old and have got an awful lot of investment in terms of improving patient flow and asking for better use of the estate that they have. 

There is a huge amount of activity going on in that respect. 

At Great Western, we have the ‘Way Forward’ programme which is all about getting a better patient flow through the system and getting better ED performance as it has historically been one of the most challenged providers nationally for hitting its targets and ED performance. 

Salisbury has a campus development project to redevelop and looking at a strategic healthcare campus and the opportunity to do that on the land that is adjacent to the hospital so that is a really exciting project. 

RUH Bath has secured £450million to completely redevelop their whole site essentially.

What are the fundamentals of the role you are hiring for and what do you need the successful candidate to demonstrate?

We are looking for somebody who is a really dynamic individual to lead this capital procurement team. 

They will be instrumental in getting involved in the three infrastructure projects at all three sites. 

I expect that they will be dynamic, they will possess excellent project management skills and project management understanding, especially in the areas of construction projects ideally and have good solid category management experience. 

They will be joining a very strong and driven senior team so I want somebody who is looking for that next step into a head of role. 

I would expect them to be producing dedicated strategies around the capital and understanding the considerations that need to go into that around specifics of the supply market, capabilities of organisations in the market and taking to account the requirement of each of the trusts and really look at delivering an integrated approach to value-added and risk management in these project as there is a significant amount of investment.

So, good solid project management skills and the ability to understand project life cycles and being able to take an infrastructure project from the initial sourcing process to the effective contract management a contractor at the end of it will be absolutely paramount to us to make sure we have the right person in that role. 

They will be leading a small team but will be dealing with some very complex projects across the region. 

They will become a key part of our senior team and this role offers them a wide variety of experience ad exposure and also stakeholder management. 

So to be able to write a good solid business case as well as dealing with execs at a lot of sites and key stakeholders at very senior levels. 

We are more interested in the individual and their skill set in terms of the experience they have got rather than pigeonholing it into them that they must have public sector experience.

If someone doesn’t have specific end-to-end experience are there some categories you would prefer over others?

I think for me there is probably a couple of things, as long as people can demonstrate an understanding of how the process works that is critical and can come up with some practical examples through the sourcing process of what they have lead and delivered I think that will be absolutely paramount, but for me, there are four key deliverables I would expect from a candidate. 

I would want them to be able to demonstrate that they can deliver in terms of capital procurement, avoiding significant deviations and making sure established budgets and schedules are adhered to as much as we can. 

Mitigation of increased costs, so it is them talking through examples of their ability to do that and achieving a cross-project perspective to ensure they are sharing a best practice design so they can talk around how they have leveraged aggregate demand and established partnerships with key suppliers.

Those are the sorts of things that we are looking for, as well as the bit I touched on earlier around the ability to look after the project life cycle from front end to back end and understand the principles of monitoring that.

Who will work well for the trust and the organisation?

I would like somebody from outside the NHS.

I think it gives an outside perspective if we can get it. That is not to say I would dismiss anyone from the NHS but that blended approach and background is quite important to us. 

I want somebody with energy, we are going through a transformational time and the NHS is generally we have a senior leadership team that is full of energy and drive so it is important that they complement that team.

They need to be driven and dynamic and resilient, the NHS has been a difficult environment to work in but now we have to hit the ground running and deliver on some of these projects that have been in the background for a while. 

They need to be a strong personality and able to influence and articulate themselves well as we l as being comfortable writing complex business cases, the written form is important. 

A good category knowledge and understanding and being able to demonstrate that they can form good relationships with people.

What are the selling points for working at the trust?

No single day is the same. 

We have a great team we have a great procurement culture. 

We have won a number of awards for our procurement innovation. 

We are always looking at doing things differently and have a solid track record of delivering things on time to the full and we have a lot of fun doing it. 

If anybody wants to work within a fun and dynamic environment this is a role to consider. 

Salisbury is a lovely part of the country and the hospitals have a very clear vision in being very friendly and inclusive and a good place to work, they are very proud of the fact that they score well in the surveys in how they look after their workforce, I think those are some of the key selling points for coming to work within this procurement function.

What do you offer in terms of training and development for individuals?

We have offered a range of different training and progression opportunities really, we have always looked to develop our people which is a challenge in the NHS as we have a lot of budgetary constraints but we have always found a way where our teams are willing to go the extra mile of wanting to do training and wanting to develop themselves. 

So we will sponsor some individuals and have done and have some going through at the moment. 

We have put senior leads through their masters in both supply chain and procurement but we also spend a lot of time working on our team ethos, around our insights profiles and how we work as individuals and how do we then come together and work individually and succeed as a team and we have also got programmes across all three hospital trusts around organisational development and intervention it is called, which is basically looking at how we across the region work better and there is quite a large in-house programme around developing ourselves as individuals to support the trust as they go through a big transformation change across the region.

There are a lot of opportunities for training and development both in and out of house.

Is there an expectation that somebody going for his role would be CIPS or MCIPS

Yes, I think we would prefer somebody with that qualification behind them who can balance that with the practical examples of experience that lend themselves to taking on a role like we have got here.

Click here to apply for the Head of Purchasing (Capital Projects & Equipment) role