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Caroline Blackman-Edney

Head of Procurement, University of Cambridge

Caroline started her career in purchasing in 1989 in the manufacturing sector where she remained until she moved to Cambridge in 2002, joining the University as the first Purchasing Officer within the Central Purchasing Department.  Here she started her studies for an MSc in Procurement with the University of Glamorgan.  With the team expanding she was successful in becoming a Senior Purchasing Officer in 2003 and in 2004 became the Head of Procurement, where she remains today.

As an Advocate for Procurement, Caroline is MCIPS qualified, was a member of CIPS council 2003-2006, and chairs the local CIPS branch. She continues her support and dissemination of best practice through her role as Head of Procurement, and through participation in various external sub-groups including HEPA and the BUFDG PPG.


Angus Warren

Chief Executive, APUC Ltd

Angus was previously Commercial Director at City University, London, where he worked for 7 years, before this he worked in the corporate world, for Unilever PLC, working in various supply chain, IT and project management roles in the UK and overseas for 16 years.

APUC is the representative body in relation to all procurement matters for the Scottish HE/FE sectors and is responsible for supporting development and positioning of procurement through the Procurement Capability Assessment (PCA) and training and development programmes (including running a graduate procurement management trainee programme). APUC also runs a procurement systems shared service team to support eight e-commence tools for client institutions as well as acting as the regional procurement consortia for Scotland, and for this aspect is part of the highly successful UKUPC collaboration.


Jim Reed

Director of Procurement, University of Nottingham

Jim was appointed to the role of Director of Procurement in February 2011. He joined the University from Rolls Royce where he was the IT Sourcing Strategy Director. Prior to joining Rolls Royce in 2004 as IT Purchasing Director, Jim built up a wealth of experience in senior procurement and quality assurance roles in Royal Mail and GEC.

Jim takes responsibility for strategic direction and development of procurement strategy and policy, and for the supply chain to the University globally. He manages external relationships for collaboration, and develops best practice, efficiency initiatives including Lean, and assorted other processes, systems and MI.


Simon Fanshawe

Writer and Broadcaster

Simon is an entrepreneur, non-exec director, broadcaster, writer and campaigner. He is a co-founder and partner in his main business, astar-fanshawe; a ground breaking equality, diversity and organizational transformation consultancy (www.astar-fanshawe.co.uk).

Between 2007 and 2013 he was chairman of the University of Sussex governing Council. He is currently on the Boards of Brighton Festival and Dome, Housing and Care 21 and has recently been made a Trustee of The Museum of London. He was a co-founder of one of the most successful lobby and campaign groups in recent times, the lesbian and gay equality organisation Stonewall. He is now a co-founder of the Kaleidoscope Trust, supporting LGBT activists abroad.

As a broadcaster he has hosted many programmes on TV and Radio and appeared on Any Questions, Any Answers, Today and Loose Ends. He has written regularly on politics, social policy and the arts for The Sunday Times Culture Section and The Guardian, The Observer and the Telegraph Saturday magazine.  He won the 1989 Perrier Award for Comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In 2005 he published The Done Thing, a best-selling book on manners and behaviour for Random House. He was awarded the OBE in the New Years’ Honours List 2013 for services to Higher Education. He was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Sussex for services to diversity and human rights in 2013.


Professor Damian Hughes

Author and Consultant

Damian Hughes is Professor of Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and a former sports psychologist for Manchester United and England rugby teams. He works within some of the UK’s worst schools as well as in international business and elite sport, including Premier League football and rugby, helping to create winning cultures.

He is the author of six bestselling books, working with a range of elite performers including Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods. He runs a charity in Manchester - a boxing club in Europe’s third poorest district - which has produced 3 world champions and has helped numerous young people pursue career paths that may not have been obvious. Sir Richard Branson suggests that you “listen to and adopt Damian’s messages”.


Stephen Willis

Director of Finance and Resources, Leeds Beckett University

Currently Director of Finance and Resources at Leeds Beckett University (formerly Leeds Metropolitan University), Stephen is responsible for Financial, Campus and Residential, and Estates Services.  He has worked within the HE UK sector for the last 22 years.  Before his current role he was Head of Group Financial Planning at the University of Leeds. 

Previous non-executive positions include governor at Leeds City College and Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce (Chair of Audit Committee at both organisations).  Presently, he is a non-executive director of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Phoenix Dance Ltd and a number of the university’s subsidiary companies. He is also a member of a number of steering groups that consider resourcing, partnership, innovation and strategy for the city of Leeds.

He has worked successfully as a qualified accountant for two decades in senior management positions in both private and public organisations ranging from an SME to a multi-national. He is strong believer in the importance of further and higher education, particularly that of a professional and vocational nature.


Judith Russell

PMA Programme Manager, Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC)

Judith has over 20 years’ experience in procurement across both the public sector and blue chip private sector organisations, such as Nissan and British Airways. She has worked in the Higher Education sector setting up a procurement operation from scratch, engaging key stakeholders and devising and delivering procurement strategy. She has worked for the Department for Education implementing an e-procurement solution for schools and delivering procurement expertise to the education sector. For the last 3 years she has managed the Procurement Maturity Assessment Programme delivered by SUPC Procurement Shared Services to over 90 English HEIs.

She is a skilled trainer and is committed to communicating the value to be gained from best practice procurement. She combines a strategic perspective with insight into operational needs, whilst working to empower and train others involved in the procurement cycle. She is keen to make most effective use of collaboration to maximise the value from the supply chain.

Judith has an economics and business degree and is member of CIPS.


Marcus McDonald HonRCM

Director of Finance and Estates, Royal College of Music

Marcus is a qualified accountant and has a University of London MA in Higher and Professional Education. He has worked in university administration since 1982, commencing work in the Finance Department of the Senate House of the University of London before moving to the Institute of Education in 1984. 

In 25 years at the Institute, he undertook a number of roles, including Director of Finance and Deputy Secretary, with responsibility for Registry, HR, Research and Finance. Whilst at the Institute Marcus was Chairman of the London Region of the British University Finance Directors Group and also served on the BUFDG National Executive. 

He sat on the Board of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium for nine years and has recently stepped down as Chair. Marcus was appointed Director of Finance and Estates at RCM in 2009.


Helen Baker

Head of Procurement, University of the West of England

Helen has worked in the HE sector for 17 years. She is responsible for a small centralised procurement team of 4 and an invoice payments team of 5 with a non-pay impactable spend of approx. £63m. She started her career working for a large manufacturing company before moving to the NHS.  Initially she was responsible for stock management before moving to a large NHS Trust with a customer facing procurement role. She now has over 25 years’ experience in public sector procurement and EU tendering.

In 2011 her team at UWE won the “Outstanding Procurement Team” category at the national Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards against fierce competition, based on their collaborative efforts in supporting small businesses and local market development. Her team have also been finalists in the national Government Opportunities Excellence in Public Procurement awards in 2013 and 2014 and have just completed their 3rd Procurement Maturity Assessment (PMA). Along with several other HEI’s Helen was a member of the steering group for the ITF funded project Strategic sourcing in UKHEIs.


Sue Weston FCIPS

Head of Procurement, Janet UK (part of the JISC group)

Sue plays a critical part in ensuring that Janet(UK) captures best value and is responsible for setting and continually developing the company’s Procurement Strategy and policies. She has been responsible for developing the procurement strategy and running the two Janet6 procurements; the Janet6 fibre infrastructure procurement and the Janet6 DWDM transmission equipment procurement.

Janet(UK) has used e-Procurement technology as the only means of issuing and receiving OJEU tenders for approximately seven years. Sue was appointed a member of the EC’s Expert Group on e-Procurement (e-TEG) and attended e-TEG meetings in Brussels on a regular basis during 2012 to contribute to the e-TEG report on Recommendations for Effective Public e-Procurement.

Sue is a Fellow of CIPS.


Tim Kidd

Operations Director, Janet UK (part of the JISC group)

Tim has overall responsibility for the provision of the services (including the IP network (Janet), security services and the 45 other services that are provided over the network) together with a range of internal controls such as ISO9000 and risk management. Tim has worked in the past on the "coloured book" networking software on mainframes and was responsible for the very large scale data storage system and software provided to service the research community for the Science and Engineering Research Council. Tim joined Janet in 1998 and has held a variety of roles in operations.


Alison Holmes

Director of Procurement, Durham University

Alison joined Durham as Director of Procurement in 2000 from the NHS, where she had undertaken a number of strategic procurement roles.  She built up a wealth of experience in senior procurement roles including working with the emergency services in Kuwait and Romania.

Alison has responsibility for strategic direction, strategic procurement policy, and overall management of all university procurement. This includes day to day requirements, research requirements and all capital projects.

Since 2000 Alison has completely transformed procurement within Durham University and the service is now seen as a strategic partner of choice by staff across the University. In 2013 the Durham University Procurement Service underwent an external Procurement Capability Assessment, which identified that they were a Superior Performing Service with a score of 83% - the highest score achieved by any institution at a first assessment.

Alison is a member of the Procurement England Ltd Advisory Group and a procurement advisor to the Efficiency Exchange. Alison is also a Board Member of the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortia and an Executive Director of UMAL and UMSL, the mutual provider of insurance services to the HE Sector.



Rex Knight

Vice-Provost (Operations), University College London

Rex worked in a variety of roles at the University of Birmingham from 1984 to 1994.  He moved to the University of Southampton as Academic Registrar, and then to Oxford Brookes University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Registrar in 2002.  He took up the post of Vice-Provost (Operations) at UCL in September 2009.  With 27,000 students and 10,000 staff, and a turnover of just over £1bn, UCL is one of the largest universities in London, and ranks alongside the best universities in the world. 

Rex’s remit includes the leadership of Professional Services and the coordination of strategic planning across the university. He leads the Provost’s Senior Management Team, convenes the Health & Safety Committee and the Major Incident Team. He is the Chair of the Southern Universities’ Procurement Consortium and Procurement England, and a member of Procurement UK.


Steve Butcher

Head of Procurement and Efficiency, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

Steve has decades of experience in both the public sector and industry, as a qualified accountant and in management consultancy as an ICT Systems Consultant with major global firms. Steve founded and operated an SME which he sold to a high street bank prior to joining HEFCE.

Most of Steve's career has been involved in process improvement, delivering value for money and change management. Steve wrote the business case which resulted in the Universities Modernisation Fund (UMF) funding, announced in the 2010 Budget. This has delivered a multiple of the £20m investment in efficiencies to the HE sector. He is now involved in evidencing the efficiency of the English HE system as part of the Diamond Review.


Mike Hanson

Director of Procurement, Coventry University

Mike has previously worked for a number of years as the Head of Legal, Grants and Procurement at the Defra sponsored environmental company WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).  During the past few years Mike has supported, and has been the procurement lead, on a number of high-profile exercises including the multi-million pound Delivery Landscape Reviews in both England and Scotland.  Mike obtained a Law Degree in 2000 and was appointed as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply in 2013. In 2014 Mike’s team won Outstanding Procurement Team of the Year at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.