Assistant Category Manager - Procurement & Insurance (Finance Office) - 48444 - Grade 6

University of Birmingham
United Kingdom
£28,762- £35,555
Closing date
Dec 2, 2022

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Position Details

Procurement and Insurance (Finance Office)

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £28,762 to £31,411, with potential progression once in post to £35,555

Grade 6

Full Time - Fixed Term contract up to December 2023

Closing date: 30th November 2022

This role is also open as an internal secondment opportunity which would need to be agreed by your current line manager.

Our offer to you

People are at the heart of what we are and do.

The University of Birmingham is proud to have been a part of the City of Birmingham and the wider region for over 100 years, and we are equally proud to be recognised as a leading global university. We want to attract talented people from across the city and beyond, support them to succeed, and celebrate their success.

We are committed to helping the people who work here to develop through our sector-leading Birmingham Professional programme which provides all professional services staff with development opportunities and the encouragement to reach their full potential. With almost 5,000 professional services jobs in a wide-range of functions in Edgbaston and in our campus in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be able to develop your career at the University.

We believe there is no such thing as a typical member of staff and that diversity is a source of strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation, and debate. We warmly welcome people from all backgrounds and are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is at the heart of who and what we are, and how we work.

Supporting our people to achieve a healthy work/life balance is important both to our employees and to the success of the University and, depending on the role, we offer a variety of flexible working arrangements. We therefore welcome discussions on all forms of flexible working. In addition, you will receive a generous package of benefits including 40 days paid holiday a year, one paid day a year for volunteering, occupational sick pay, and a pension scheme. We also have three high quality subsidised day nurseries.

The University is situated in leafy Edgbaston and there are excellent transport links to our beautiful campus, including main bus routes and a train station on site. On campus we have a state-of-the-art sports centre with pool, shops, places to eat and drink, our own art gallery, museum and botanical gardens.

Find out more about the benefits of working for the University of Birmingham


Achieving the global ambitions of our University strategy depends on our people - and we are proud of our highly talented and engaged professional services colleagues. Our culture is ambitious and high-performing, but also supportive and inclusive. Career progression is encouraged, and you will have the opportunity to take responsibility for your own professional development and wellbeing. We actively support collaboration within and across disciplines and roles. Our staff have high levels of engagement and pride in the University.

Roles at this level will be professional specialists with expertise, exercising within their particular functional area/section a degree of independent professional responsibility and discretion, including contributing to the development and implementation of policies and processes. You will support a functional area and you will have a deputising role a Category Manager. You are expected to resolve problems where there is a lack of precedent, requiring innovation and creativity to develop appropriate options. You will contribute to setting quality and professional standards and managing service delivery against this. Your work is likely to have a medium to long term horizon and you will typically work with a variety of people from several teams. You will also be able to contribute to longer-term planning for your area, in line with the wider University strategy.

Department Overview

The Procurement and Insurance Division of the Finance Office has overall responsibility for the effective procurement of Goods and Services within the University. It has a key role to ensure the achievement of best value for money in the utilisation of the University's circa £230 million annual non-pay budget, ensuring statutory obligations relating to tendering and contracting are fulfilled. Procurement also ensures commercial risks and the University's supplier base are evaluated and adequately managed.

Role Summary

This role will deliver procurement contracting and advice to the University, ensuring that best value is achieved and commercial risk effectively managed. Taking the lead role in establishing Frameworks and other Agreements as appropriate for Procurement, establishing approved suppliers where appropriate. Negotiating express contracts for the purchase of materials and services exceeding £25k in value.

This role will maintain effective communication and networking links with Budget Centres and ensuring compliance with public sector procurement legislation and due process. Ensure effective networking with Commodity Groups to ensure that the performance of approved and Framework Agreement suppliers meet and maintain the standards set in Service Standards and Key Performance Indicators. To undertake regular supplier reviews involving Estates as appropriate.

The post holder would be expected to challenge existing procurement methods deployed with a view to driving further savings and improvements. Also, all posts holder categories are flexible and can be changed to meet the needs of the function and resource requirements.

Main duties
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of university procurement strategies and policies and to the development of National and Regional Consortia strategies. Liaise with the HE Sector Purchasing Consortia and Special Interest and Commodity Groups related to the Capital Procurement for which the Category Manager has the Lead Role, ensuring the University's position and views are properly represented. Attend and lead meetings or contribute to electronic consultations and activities, and provide demand and performance information and data as necessary.
  • In consultation and liaison with others, develop commodity strategies and/or process single contracts to fulfil the requirements in the most cost-effective manner, achieving best value in all procurement activities, and ensuring that the value-added benefits of economies of scale can be exploited by means of co-ordinating the University's demand and expenditure to the fullest extent.
  • To lead and manage the; procurement, tendering and contract awarding for the University (Colleges and Professional Services) to ensure value for money is delivered and commercial risk effectively managed in the procurement and delivery of EU and Sub EU level contracting. Take the lead role and establish and maintain expertise in a specific range of spend Categories identify the requirements and needs of the function.
  • To act as deputy for the Category Manager (or other Category Managers) as and when required to cover, meetings, advice, or, procurement projects. To work in partnership with key stakeholders and project teams to provide expert advice in the determination of procurement strategies to fulfil end user requirements within budget and on time.
  • The post-holder will provide support and expertise in developing and negotiating appropriate contracts based on industry standard forms and in the resolution of any claims or disputes that may arise with Contractors and responsible for ensuring liaison with Category Managers; the Director of Procurement and Insurance and Legal Services, to ensure any amendments made to standard forms are regularly reviewed.
  • The role encompasses working with a range of categories as and when required across the following areas: IT Services, scientific equipment, catering, professional services, people, and minor building and civil engineering works, maintenance and facilities management products and services, consumables and the E-Marketplace contracts etc. and deliver high level savings against these activities.
  • To liaise Utilise the Category Managers and support staff to support the Buying Team with diverting requisitions / purchase orders to contracted suppliers and any related issues linked to contracting, release any Price Holds within tolerance levels, or investigate, at discretion. To develop contracts to support smooth running of the Buying Team order flipping process and reduce queries and administration.
  • Seek to limit the number of new suppliers created in Core Systems by way of requests rejected, improved stakeholder information, and greater use of existing suppliers, to monitor where weaknesses may exist across the University and support corrective actions. To oversee the monthly Cull process in accordance with the Run Book.
  • To continue the deep-dive savings initiative to reflect; in-year cashable realised savings, previous year deep-dive savings still in realisation, and VFM standard savings delivered and reported.
  • Develops and implements a culture (including policies and procedures) that promotes Equality and values diversity and inclusion.
  • Supports the University's sustainability agenda through resource efficient working.
  • Any other duties commensurate with the grade.

Core competencies/transferable skills

Working at this level you will be able to develop and demonstrate the following core competencies/transferable skills and will be expected to be flexible as required in supporting their department and wider University.

Planning and organising

At this level, role holders will have the ability to:
  • lead and manage a functional area, taking responsibility for staff and resources, tackling planning and operations over the medium to long term;
  • shape strategic direction for own area, and make significant contributions to departmental strategic planning
  • set quality and professional standards for others;
  • take accountability for the quality and delivery of a service or for the provision of expert professional advice;
  • take the initiative and manage large-scale changes;
  • make decisions and judgements on conflicting data/information;
  • lead and manage projects which are complex and significant in terms of time and financial resources.

Problem solving and decision making

At this level role holders will have the ability to:
  • evaluate service provision and implement innovative solutions to improve quality, efficiency and continuity;
  • ensure effective resolution of all issues in own area, often requiring complex problem solving through others;
  • identify trends which could have an impact on the area, and identify and implement approaches to these trends
  • deal effectively and sensitively with significant and substantial people management issues, such as major change programmes and lead staff through change whilst maintaining motivation.

Relationships and communication

At this level role holders will have the ability to:
  • interact at senior levels within the University;
  • network with fellow professionals in the wider community to stay up to date;
  • promote own/department's work at internal and external opportunities;
  • inspire and motivate others (often large teams) through multiple intermediary managers;
  • provide expert input for internal/external meetings, influencing and facilitating different opinions to reach consensus;
  • consult with service users/others to establish service requirements, standards and priorities for change.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience
  • Educated to Degree level (or equivalent level qualifications), higher degree where appropriate or substantial relevant managerial experience.
  • Membership of CIPS / qualified to competent level.
  • Ability to exercise a substantial degree of independent professional responsibility and discretion.
  • Ability to lead and manage diverse groups of staff through intermediate managers
  • Evidence of literacy and numeracy.
  • Knowledge, application and administration of European Union procurement procedures and regulations.
  • Legislation applicable to the procurement of a wide range of construction projects and estate development and estate maintenance related products and services.
  • Commercial terms and conditions of contract, in particular construction industry standard forms of contract
  • Contractor, Consultant and Supplier appraisal and management techniques.
  • Contractor and Supplier Relationship Management
  • Contract management techniques
  • Administration of Request for Proposal/Tendering/Evaluation and Contract Award procedures (including detailed contract negotiation) in the construction and related industries environment.
  • Contract, contractor and supplier relationship management, including the development and application of Service Level Agreements either as part of formal contracts or as informal arrangements.
  • Working with the procurement of a wide portfolio of major and minor construction projects and estate maintenance related products and services.
  • Project Management, ideally in a PRINCE environment.
  • Networking and influencing people.
  • Working in a Team environment, in particular involving internal University members of staff and representatives of external organisations as part of a Project Team
  • IT skills including MS Word, Excel and Project and computerised procurement and management information systems.
  • Actively promotes equality and diversity to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Able to use data to identify equality and diversity issues.
  • Experience of developing interventions to address equality and diversity issues.

Informal enquires to Matthew Home, email:

View our staff values and behaviours here

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working .

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