What does an ageing society mean for business? – Paul Mander

Bloom Procurement’s local government and North East service director, Paul Mander, has written a comment piece about the effects demographic ageing could have on the businesses of the future

According to research from the World Health Organization, between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years old will nearly double from 12 per cent to 22 per cent.

Furthermore, by 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years. People worldwide are living longer. Today, for the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond.

Our ageing population presents both threats and opportunities for local businesses and it was this topic that was discussed at a recent NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) business leaders’ briefing event.

The event brought together some of those leading and supporting research into this subject from across the North East to specifically discuss the impact of our ageing society on existing businesses.

It was great for Bloom to be a part of this event as it gave us the opportunity to hear from senior leaders in the region and meet with other like-minded businesses. The event was key to helping us all better understand the impact of our ageing society and how we can work more collaboratively as a region.

At Bloom, we are passionate about delivering services which demonstrate social value for the region. Our mission is simple: to open up procurement and bring together a community of buyers and suppliers; ensuring that social value is an integral part of the process.

Becoming an NGI partner has been key to enabling us to improve our network and use our voice in the region to work towards delivering benefits for the North East. Importantly, being able to access expertise that may not have been on our radar previously, such as ageing, is hugely beneficial.

We work closely with the public sector across the UK delivering the NEPRO framework set up and managed by the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO). This is a fully compliant public sector contract which allows Bloom to connect buyers and suppliers of professional services supporting the ever-changing needs and objectives of the public sector.

Working across 19 service categories, Bloom identify the most appropriate suppliers to deliver each project; this can include very small micro businesses through to large multi-national organisations. Over the past 3 years, we have seen significant growth, with Social Care becoming one of our largest categories of spend.

At Bloom, we have already experienced an increase in the numbers of projects we have been asked to deliver by public sector organisations which respond to our ageing society. This has included projects which review the approach to delivering older peoples’ care, the workforce and skills required to support an ageing population as well as the approach to integrating health and social care in specific areas.

One such example is our work with Newham Council. After implementing a new social care system, the council needed to undertake a full evaluation of service delivery to future-plan their provision of Adult Social Care Services. Planning their service delivery approach in the context of our aging society was an important consideration. Bloom worked with Newham Council to source a specialist supplier to deliver their desired outcomes; achieving a 14 per cent saving against budget.

In order to deliver these projects, we are actively engaging organisations with specialist skills and knowledge across the UK.  This in turn means greater opportunities for our supplier partners and will allow our 315+ buying organisations to benefit from the learning taken from projects already completed.