I have two key roles at Bramble Hub: writing and managing the bids that get us onto government procurement frameworks and making sure we are following best practice in the way we conduct our business.
The Bramble Hub business model is to gain access to the frameworks, sign up partners and pass them the tender opportunities to enable them to secure contracts. So getting on to the frameworks is the bedrock of the company’s success.
We may be working on one or more framework bids at the same time – we have no control over when they come out – so it’s always a scramble to get the case studies, write perfect answers and get the bids in on time. But I can’t relax in between bids either…
We run two catalogues, G Cloud, RM 1557 and Local Authority Software Applications, RM1059. I manage the drafting, uploading and updating of partner entries and with over 500 entries across the two catalogues, that’s an ongoing task.
I also organise the Bramble Hub partner networking events. These are held twice a year and its always a challenge to find a great new venue that partners will enjoy coming to. The next one will be at the House of Commons on 22nd June and we expect around 120 partners to be there, on the terrace, sampling the canapes and having a drink with us. The events are a great opportunity for partners to meet our team and to exchange experience with one another. Organising these events is an enormous amount of work, but we know that they are very well appreciated and many on-going collaborations have started as a result.
And then there’s the recruitment, due diligence checking and registration of new partners, either because they come to us as a route to securing public sector business, or where we have identified a capability gap in our partner network - for example, if we are planning to tender for a new framework.
This is definitely the part of my role that I enjoy the most: working with companies that need our access to the frameworks, making sure they embody the values we espouse and can deliver to the high standards we depend on to maintain our reputation in the market.
I help them understand the way we work and the value we can add; take them through a rigorous due diligence process to become an active partner; then make sure that the rest of the team is fully briefed and have all the information they need to match the new partners’ skills with incoming opportunities.
All that still leaves me time to take responsibility for a wider compliance role within Bramble Hub, ensuring that we adhere to the highest quality, security and information management standards. That means carrying out internal audits and getting us through the ISO quality, environmental and information security management assessments and audits.
When Richard Archer contacted me over 4 years ago and asked me to come and help him with a framework bid, I never imagined that I’d still be here, commuting into London (something I swore I’d never do again when I set up on my own 20 years ago!) and enjoying every minute.
I like working with the Bramble Hub team and I really like Bramble Hub’s business model – its win-win: we help smaller companies find their way through the framework minefield and win business from the public sector… and we help government manage their relationship with the smaller companies they need to work with – something they find really difficult.
I have been working in or alongside the public sector for most of my career and I am interested in the way that the public sector and small businesses do not talk the same language. Working as interpreter and facilitator, we can help make the relationship happen.
So I believe the work we are doing at Bramble Hub is really important. We do some real good by giving the best companies the opportunity to work with Public Sector organisations who otherwise would not be able to buy their services.
That’s worth getting up in the morning for!