YPO celebrates four decades of supplying the public sector

Julie Wray, Simon Hill, Jo Marshall, Alan Roe, Paul Smith, John Goldthorpe and Christine Preston (1)
Julie Wray, Simon Hill, Jo Marshall, Alan Roe, Paul Smith, John Goldthorpe and Christine Preston (1)

The UK’s largest public sector buying organisation has celebrated 40 years in business.

There were guest speakers, awards for staff and a huge birthday cake when Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO) reached its Ruby Anniversary.

And staff members Christine Preston, Alan Roe and John Goldthorpe were honoured for their long service after being with the organisation for the full 40 years.

Mrs Preston, who works in human resources, said: “Times have certainly changed over the years. When I first started in 1974, all orders were processed manually and we took calls with just two phones.

“I’ve seen people come and go, and sometimes come back again. It’s been my only job since leaving school. It’s been a pleasure to come to work every day and I’ve met some great people along the way. I haven’t regretted a single moment.”

The organisation, based at Wakefield 41 Industrial Estate, dates back to 1915, when it started life as West Riding County Supplies, and became YPO in 1974.

It is owned by 13 local authorities and is a member of the Pro5 group of buying organisations, which has a combined purchasing power of £2bn a year.

It is estimated that to date, YPO has contributed £105m to the public purse.

In 1974, YPO’s best-selling products included ink wells, sealing wax, typewriters, carbon paper and petticoats.

Forty years on, the organisation is estimated to supply 140m post-it notes, 30m exercise books, 230 tons of glue sticks and five million pom poms every year.

Simon Hill, managing director of YPO said: “YPO employees through the decades have worked tirelessly to help our public sector customers make best use of their ever squeezed budgets, whether it’s schools, local authorities, charities, the NHS or the emergency services.

“They are a talented and highly skilled group and we wanted to applaud their achievements.

“They have helped us go from strength to strength as an organisation. Indeed, we are aiming to hit a record £1 million of stock orders taken in one day sometime this summer.”