Category Manager

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 per annum
05 Aug 2021
End of advertisement period
03 Sep 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time


Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 18 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 02-Sep-2021, 6:59:00 AM

Job Family: Business Process and People Services

Our Characteristics: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.

Our ValuesWe are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide a comprehensive service and deliver the efficient administration and governance of the University.

Overall family purpose

  • Deliver direct and indirect services to stakeholders.
  • Provide advice and answer queries as part of an enquiry-desk/help-desk function.
  • Respond to and manage requests for information and resources.
  • Deliver services to meet regulatory requirements and procedures.
  • Plan and deliver a joined-up approach to University business and people services.
  • Align business processes and services to meet operational and strategic policy objectives.
  • Deliver business processes to ensure effective management, governance and the economic viability of the University.
  • Encourage, collaborate and participate in the development of productive cross-institution relationships and working.
  • Provide excellent professional services that meet strategic and operational goals and business needs.
  • Carry out monitoring, analysis, development and planning to design new services and service updates for continuous improvement whilst meeting changes in regulations.
  • Engage with specialist professionals, consultants, and suppliers to exchange knowledge and facilitate partnership working.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
  • Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Engage and encourage participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering Professional Services across the University;
  • A joined-up approach to University professional services, regardless of location or line management;
  • A culture and practice of continuous improvement;
  • Design services that meet business need;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

The Department and role purpose

The Procurement Service is responsible for the procurement of all goods and services for the University, using strategic sourcing strategies within a category management framework. Electronic and sustainable procurement, as well as supplier engagement are at the heart of what we do.

The main purpose of the Category Manager role is to understand their portfolio of work, including marketplace, supply chain, risk and opportunities, as well as developing a sound knowledge of possible route to market and stakeholder requirements. They are also responsible for developing an understanding of the category areas their portfolio falls within.

In particular, the Category Manager will look to:

  • Undertake the negotiation and management of university wide contracts, both capital and revenue.
  • Facilitate value for money procurement across the University;
  • Undertake relationship management with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that contracts in place are fit for purpose;
  • Continuously review procurement practices to ensure these remain efficient and effective.
  • Provide generalist Procurement advice and support to all stakeholders, in areas such as tendering and contract management, eProcurement systems, Responsible Procurement, and changes to legislation and procedures.

Core responsibilities:

  • Recognised professional practitioner and service specialist working with the Senior Category Manager to provide a proactive, responsive procurement service to all stakeholders.
  • Working with the Senior Category Managers to develop and implement changes to the design and development of service processes, techniques and deliverables for one or more service strands or project streams.
  • Provide specialist expertise and support with complexity of data and information sources, interpretation and analysis.
  • Contribute to development of operational service activities to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience.
  • Collect and analyse stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements and the design and planning of services.
  • Internal and external relationship development and partnership working, networking and participation to identify and develop collaborative working opportunities, and engage and influence future services and the University reputation. Identify and design activities to meet learning objectives and outcomes.
  • Deliver relevant Procurement training, teaching and/or development delivery for stakeholders.
  • Maintain an awareness of current policy, best practice and its relevance to the higher education environment, and provision of professional Procurement advice using specialist knowledge.
  • Contribute to and lead business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at departmental and operational service levels.

Role responsibilities:

  • Provide management for stakeholder service areas and/or processes ensuring a high-quality and timely service to stakeholders including any member of University staff, external networks and suppliers on a full range of procurement issues.
  • Undertake regular contract reviews with the University's contracted supplier, ensure contracts deliver against requirements, monitor the supplier’s performance using qualitative and quantitative analysis and continually improve contracts.
  • Ensure that responsible procurement is considered in all activities.
  • Analyse service data and processes and provide reports to the Senior Category Manager and Head of Procurement making recommendations for improvement as appropriate.
  • Provide proactive and comprehensive Procurement support to stakeholders to achieve strategic and operational priorities.
  • Provide advice to stakeholders in relation to the Procurement process, including sourcing exercises, contract management policy, procedures and regulations.
  • Distribute service information and provide advice to stakeholders regarding Procurement compliance and EU Procurement regulations.
  • Coordinate and oversee committee working and deal with complaints.
  • Provide relevant Procurement related training and/or instruction to stakeholders.
  • Maintain awareness of the external environment and sector best practice, including undertaking category and supplier industry benchmarking, to support high quality services.
  • Manage the category areas for which they are responsible to ensure best practice is adopted at all times.
  • Deliver improvements and savings to the University in terms of Total Cost of Ownership, through contract management and stakeholder engagement.
  • Provision of well-constructed written advice, reports and letters on procurement matters to Senior Category Managers and stakeholders.
  • Engage in the development of the University’s eProcurement system, including implementation and roll-out of any new systems.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements:

Travel may be required to attend consortia meetings and conferences. It is unlikely that these will be outside of the UK.

Recruiting to this post

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’).

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply

We prefer to receive applications online. Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  3. Examples of how you satisfy the essential criteria in the person specification, this will require completion of the 'Questionnaire' application section.
  4. A separate document that includes examples of how you satisfy the Realising Your Potential Approach criteria.

Please ensure you give detailed examples of how you meet these criteria.

Contact details:

For further information please contact: Liam Glasper, liam.glapser@durham.ac.uk 

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria

  • Professional procurement practitioner with knowledge and expertise used to contribute to the delivery and development of services, events and activities within the organisation.
  • Expertise in end-to-end procurement processes and techniques.
  • Experience of implementing policy and procedures and involvement with future changes within Procurement.
  • Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to influence perceptions of the University.
  • Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with Procurement Policies regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.  
  • Experience of providing Procurement advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
  • Record of successful achievement in procurement and contracting.
  • Ability to work under pressure with complex workload and to set and achieve goals within tight and competing deadlines.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop excellent working relationships both internally and externally.
  • Astute commercial knowledge and Acumen.
  • Proven IT and numeracy skills using a wide range of IT systems including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Evidence of continuous professional development.
  • Post-16 qualification (or equivalent experience).

Desirable Criteria

  • Certified to MCIPs level with post qualification knowledge and expertise used to influence events and activities within the organisation. 
  • Experience of procurement and contracting within the higher education sector or other public sector organisation.
  • Good understanding of all aspects relating to sustainable procurement and corporate, social and environmental responsibility generally.
  • Detailed understanding of procurement processes and techniques specifically associated with public sector bodies (currently EU process).
  • Knowledge of the procurement and contracting requirements of the University.
  • Capable of assimilating and interpreting a wide range of information.
  • Experience of using an eProcurement system.

Realising Your Potential Approach

Working Together - Working across boundaries to develop relationships with other teams.

Providing Leadership and Direction - Not losing sight of the vision in dealing with day-to-day pressures.

Finding Solutions - Being open to and applying good practice and fresh ideas from inside and outside the organisations.

Finding Solutions - Exercising judgement in line with the organisation's strategy and priorities.

Achieving Results - Confidently say "no" to activities that are less important or do not fit with University priorities.

Achieving Results - Critically evaluate the success of projects to disseminate lessons that can be learned.

Achieving Results - Being effective in gaining buy-in without direct authority

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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