Trading support Communities of Practice (CoP) are groups of commercial and outlet managers coming together to help shape the way forward for the Purchasing Consortium and how the Trading Support function operates. 

It's a place to meet with other student unions, share best practice and work with the Trading Support team to strengthen the Purchasing Consortium.

Discussing topics which are important to the success, the aim of the CoP is to make the Purchasing Consortium stronger, delivering even better value in to student unions.

You asked to be involved with the tender process and the programmes so the first CoP were based on these areas.  

CoPs took place in Kent, York and Manchester Met during October.  Read on for a summary of the sessions...

Tenders and Programmes CoP

Thank you to everyone who attended the Tenders and Programmes Communities of Practice held in October at Kent, York and Manchester Met. It was great to see over 30 members at these sessions.

The trading support team hope you found them of value and that you could see progress being made both in tenders and how they are created. And that you left with a clearer understanding of the programmes and the benefits of being part of them.

Feedback we received around tenders was invaluable and will help the Trading Support team understand the needs of the members and allow us to work with you to ensure we are delivering what you require from your purchasing consortium.

Led by Trading Manager, Cheryl Hackney, all the information has now been collated and the buyers are now in the process of contacting the suppliers you asked for to explore the feasibility of them becoming national suppliers available to all members of the consortium.

We encourage you to still send over details of products that you use out of the consortium to allow us to conduct research with the view to adding them if required.

Invites will be sent in December to all those that attended to invite you to a follow up session in January 2018, where progress made will be discussed.

Programme handbooks are for Licensed Trade + and Retail +

Finally thank you to Tony, Laurie and Ben for arranging meeting rooms and refreshments.

Cheryl Hackney, Trading Manager

The second round of CoP were specific to Best Bar None 2018 and included programme changes, sharing best practice and growing knowledge.  They also took place in October in Keele, Reading and Leeds.  Please find below a summary of outcomes from Alison Inch...

Best Bar None Communities of Practice

October and November saw over 55 members attending the Best Bar None Communities of Practice held at Keele, Reading, York and Kings College London.

It was great to spend time with you all discussing how we move the scheme forward to raise the level of engagement and accreditations.

The feedback received has been taken on board and the scheme adjusted to include feasible suggestions.

All students' unions who are part of the scheme will receive an email with the changes in more detail.

The scheme is launching in January 2018 and will consist of an on-site announced visit with a Best Bar None approved assessor and a Mystery Customer will be introduced to measure service standards.

The new way of working will allow you time with an assessor to show them in detail your paperwork, policies, training and practices, making the process more personal bringing the assessment to life in your venue. At the end of the assessment you will have chance to discuss the outcome with the assessor.

Uploading of evidence will no longer be required, so more time becoming available to ensure your documents and training is at the highest level it can be.

During the on-site assessment the assessor will take the opportunity to talk to staff regarding the training they have received and will ask them questions to check understanding.

Sharing best practice is going to be a new thing that will be introduced from mid-November onwards, a suite of 'Best in Class' documents will be available on Connect for all entrants to view, allowing you to produce better quality documents in areas where there may be an opportunity.

We discussed a way of communicating between each other to support venues that may need help, to shout about great things that are happening in your venue and to keep in touch with Best Bar None from a National perspective. Please watch out for an email once this is ready to launch.

Finally a huge thank you to everyone who attended, discussions were free flowing and your attendance was appreciated and to Ian, Steve, Jon and John thank you for arranging meeting rooms and refreshments.

Looking forward to a fantastic year of Best Bar None achievements.

Alison Inch, Commercial Development Manager

If you would like further information or to register your interest for future events, please email Alison Inch at