Each year parishes spend over £200 million, in addition to paying for clergy and local ministry. This includes spending on energy, insurance, photocopiers, office supplies and building maintenance. Until now, each parish has been left to make its own decisions without much support. This also means that we have been largely buying as independent parishes, without being able to harness economies of scale.
Parish Buying aims to change that. Whether or not you want to take advantage of the deals we've negotiated, this website from the national church seeks to support local decision making. Therefore as well as offering a range of competitive deals, you will also find a number of short Buying Guides and other information to help you make better buying decisions.
The deals on this website aim to offer a competitive price for a quality product or service. You may be able to buy some things cheaper. For example, the office supplies contract provides a wide range of products at prices which are on average 36% less than the standard prices charged by the main catalogues used by parishes. However, this is a promotional market and you will sometimes find supermarkets or office retailers selling some items more cheaply. We believe that these deals offer some good prices as our suppliers see the potential for working with us in this way. However, as more parishes buy through these deals we hope that over time we will be able to increase the price advantage for everyone.
Where contracts are involved, we've also negotiated with suppliers to ensure there are no nasty surprises. For example, when buying or leasing a new photocopier, there are all sorts of traps that you can fall into – excess charges when you make more copies than you had expected, increased 'per-click' charges when the lease expires, and so on. If you prefer to negotiate locally, then you can use the national deals to help you secure a better price, and the Buying Guide to ensure that you negotiate a contract without punitive clauses.
This isn't just about saving money, though that is clearly a major reason behind this initiative. It's also about good stewardship, in what we buy, in where we buy, and in what we do with any savings generated. Find out more about stewardship and ethical buying.
The service is managed by the Church of England's two National Procurement Officers, Rob Kissick (left) and Russell Stables (right). Initial start up funding has been granted by the Church Commissioners, to whom we are grateful. This is primarily about delivering benefits to parishes and dioceses, and more than 90% of savings will come to parishes. However, users should be aware that a small commission will flow back to enable us to continue to provide this service as we know that having a professional resource to monitor and manage contracts, and to put new ones in place, will be vital in ensuring that the service not only maintains its edge, but that the deals get better over time as more and more parishes participate.