Essex County Council

Category and Contract Manager - People Team

Chelmsford, Essex
Up to £44,000 per annum
14 May 2019
11 Jun 2019
Specialist Area
Job Level
Contract Type
Full Time
CIPS Membership
Non CIPS member

Contract: Permanent
Working Hours: Full-time
Salary: Up to £44,000 per annum
Primary Location: Chelmsford
Closing Date (Period for Applying) - External: 6/06/19

Job summary and Responsibilities

The advertised role will work within the Procurement People team with a focus on delivering procurement activity within the Learning Difficulty and Autism , Physical and Sensory Impairment, Mental Health, Public Health, Old People (OP) and Children and Families portfolios and offers the opportunity to really make a difference to the lives of the people of Essex.

Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a very successful track record of delivering transformational change. ECC anticipated change was needed in the public sector and has worked to deliver better quality at lower cost. We have an ambitious transformation agenda – one with the scope to reach every part of the council. We are changing the way we think, the way we work, and the ways in which we deliver our services. We are committed to becoming a place where individuals, partners and communities feel proud to play their role and genuinely want to belong. We’re immensely proud of our flexible working options.

Essex County Council Procurement team, is highly recognised within the profession by being the only CIPS corporate accredited county council within the UK, this certification is an independent assessment by the world’s leading professional body showing that ECC are at a level and standard that is expected for a strategic procurement function.

Job Purpose

The role of Procurement is to work with stakeholders across ECC to understand requirements for goods and services, make an assessment of the market and determine the appropriate strategy for each spend area. The team also actively manage strategic suppliers and their contracts.

The Category and Contract Manager will manage the delivery of sourcing processes in a compliant and timely manner. They will be directly accountable for the effective management of contracts assigned to them, ensuring that service level agreements and key performance indicators are monitored and that any improvements required are well planned and executed. The role will negotiate all commercial or contractual terms to achieve positive outcomes as well as ensuring that contracts keep pace with ECC’s changing requirements.

Effective leadership of multidisciplinary teams will be needed along with supporting the development of colleagues both within procurement and across the Authority.

Service/Functional Accountabilities

  • Lead the development, maintenance and implementation of category strategies, ensuring alignment to commissioning objectives.
  • Develop and implement innovative approaches and solutions in the delivery of complex projects to enhance levels of service and minimise costs. This requires working collaboratively with colleagues across the organisation and externally, to ensure best practice can be achieved when implementing new ways of working.
  • Collaborate with and exert influence on Directors, Senior Managers and Members as to the commercial and financial viability of differing commercial options for specific projects within complex and often, contentious environments.
  • Manage suppliers to ensure they consistently achieve the performance standards set out in contracts and that adequate controls are in place to protect the Authority’s interests. Take a proactive approach to identifying and investigating contractual, commercial and market risks to ensure continuity of supply and protect the Authority’s interests.
  • Operate a continuous improvement approach to identify and deliver on-going changes whilst also leading the negotiation of commercial and contractual changes to ensure they consistently meet business requirements.
  • Lead major projects and tenders, ensuring all sourcing activity fully complies with appropriate legislation and regulation whilst also complying with ECC policies.
  • Work collaboratively with incumbent suppliers and potential new entrants to identify gaps in market provision and explore opportunities to close those gaps.
  • Provide support and advice to stakeholders regarding any contractual or procurement matters.
  • Support the adoption of best practice approaches with the aim of ensuring that the Procurement function is seen as ‘best in class’. Ensure policies, procedures, documents and workflows are kept up-to-date and remain best in class.
  • Specific individual and shared targets and objectives are defined annually within the performance management framework.


Lead the development of strategies which will determine how annual third party spend of up to £50 million is managed. Lead the management of contracts up to this value.

Leadership Behaviours/Professional Competence

Acts Strategically

  • Inspires - Displays a passion for making a difference. Creates and shares an ideal image of what we can become and motivates others to see exciting possibilities for the future.
  • Innovates - Thinks radically, takes risks and is prepared to make mistakes when looking for new ways to improve services. Sees disappointments as learning opportunities Seeks opportunities to challenge and change the status quo.

Engages People

  • Enables - Builds energised teams. Creates an atmosphere of trust, respect and dignity so others feel able to experiment with new or innovative ways of working.

  • Collaborates - Creates and develops networks and involves others to first understand their point of view and then join together in a common purpose. Crosses internal and external organisational boundaries to improve and deliver shared solution and services in ways that achieve mutual gain.

Achieves Results

  • Delivers - Develops a quality service by valuing and modelling professional excellence and expertise to enable the delivery of commercially, financially viable services, taking account of diverse customer needs and requirements.

Knowledge, skills and experience

  • Educated to degree level with a relevant professional qualification such as MCIPS and or equivalent demonstrable work experience with evidence of continuing professional development.
  • Knowledge of category management and experience of using this methodology in complex commercial environments to deliver significant cost or service improvements.
  • A demonstrable track record of managing multi-million pound strategic contracts in business critical environments. This should include evidence of defining, measuring and improving key elements of supplier performance.
  • Experience of delivering continuous improvements in large, strategic arrangements with evidence of generating significant cost and service benefits.
  • Knowledge of contract law and legislation relevant to the specific category / categories within their control and its impact on market management, finance and contractual arrangements.
  • Extensive knowledge of public sector procurement law with an ability to explain the law to non-procurement staff and find pragmatic solutions to potential legal difficulties.
  • Comprehensive negotiating skills appropriate to multi million pound contracts and experience of planning and delivering successful negotiations.
  • Experience of working in a political environment and skilled in understanding and responding to different perspectives.

Qualification certificates should be brought to interview.

As part of employment with Essex County Council (ECC) should your role require a DBS check you will be required to register with the DBS update service. The DBS update service ensures all registered DBS certificates are kept up to date and allows authorised parties to view the status of your certificate. This is an annual subscription and you will be responsible for ensuring this is maintained. For further information on the DBS update service please go to

Essex County Council is proud to offer an excellent benefits package to all its employees. More information can be found on

Essex County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, and expects all employees and volunteers to share this commitment.

We seek the best talent from the widest pool of people as diversity is key to our success.