Our History in Public Procurement | About Us | YPO
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History of YPO

40 years of public service

YPO was established over four decades ago by local government authorities to help combine their procurement demands and achieve efficiency savings.

Today we are still 100% publicly owned, but work with even more organisations to achieve the same goal.

Every year, we budget to make a small surplus which is used to develop the business. Everything else is passed back to our public sector customers and member authorities for reinvestment in their services.


YPO was formed by local authorities to aggregate demand and generate buying efficiencies as Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation. Established constitutionally as a Joint Committee of Local Authorities, YPO operates under the aegis of the Local Authority (Goods & Services) Act 1970.


The 1988 Education Reform Act devolved control of budgets to schools providing a huge opportunity for YPO. Its 'one stop shop' approach proved very popular with schools as they were able to source the vast majority of their requirements from one single, competitive and fully compliant source.


The Local Government Act 2000 put local authorities at the heart of the community with the introduction of new 'powers of well-being'. Under Section 2 of the Act, authorities have the power to do anything which they consider is likely to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area. YPO is able to support its local authority customers in the delivery of services through its evolving portfolio of value-for-money products and services.


YPO becomes a founding member of the Pro5 Group. With a joint buying power of £2 billion, Pro5 combines the expertise of the largest professional buying organisations in the UK. Dedicated to working together for their customers, the organisations aim to reduce time, money and effort spent on commonly purchased goods and services in the public sector.


After launching its Share of Profits Loyalty Scheme in 2010, YPO pays back approximately £1.7 million to customers in September. The scheme was set up to provide customers with further savings through a percentage of the organisation’s profits, based on their total spend throughout the previous year.

Since the coalition government announced the spending cuts of £83 billion from public sector in 2010, it’s now more important than ever for organisations to embrace the buying power and cost savings associated with purchasing through organisations like YPO. YPO is commissioned by Department for Education to produce an approved catalogue of phonics products and training alongside co-members of the Pro5 Group, as primary schools receive grants to help improve literacy skills.


YPO establishes a formal strategic alliance with Government Procurement Service (now Crown Commercial Service), the procurement arm of the Home Office. The agreement demonstrates a commitment from both organisations to work more closely and deliver greater savings for the public sector as a whole. Working in partnership with other public sector buying organisations and in consultation with the Department for Education, YPO launches EduBuy – a single website of compliant public sector contracts - to help schools and academies find all available agreements in a single place.

Following a successful bid, YPO is selected to run NYPS – North Yorkshire County Council’s outsourced procurement service – demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to work more closely with individual local authorities to satisfy localised procurement demands. YPO reaches the milestone of returning £100m back to the public sector over the course of the organisation’s history.


YPO continues to strive in achieving procurement efficiency savings for its customers as government spending cuts continue. In October the organisation launches the YPO Procurement Service for Academies. The dedicated service is aimed at supporting schools with their new buying responsibilities following the conversion process.


YPO is declared Supplier of the Year in the over £10m category at the BESA Education Resources Awards, and highly commended at the Government Opportunities Awards.

In July, the member authorities agreed to form YPO Procurement Holdings Limited, a separate limited company. Its first trading subsidiary, YPO Supplies Ltd, was launched in September to enable customers outside the public sector to buy goods and services from YPO.


YPO formed a partnership with Roald Dahl Literacy Estate to become official sponsors of the world famous author's centenary celebrations. We sold supplies to the early years and care sector for the first time, following the formation of our Limited Company.


YPO commits to embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals in all procurements. The goal will help us to drive social value in everything we do and deliver real benefits to local communities.