Best of Spend Matters: Spend Matters UK/Europe

Where would we be without our procurement voice of the UK and Europe, Peter Smith? Spend Matters UK/Europe has almost hit its two-year anniversary and will undoubtedly take the terrible twos by storm (in a good way). Here are the top five most-read posts from the site:

Thailand Hard Disk Drive production – cost and supply implications -- As Thailand starts the recovery process and takes stock of the worst flooding on record, the supply of Hard Disk Drives (HDD) is forecast to become difficult and expensive. And the global impact is forecast to be significant shortages of this vital product in the first quarter of 2012 as the disaster hits the manufacturing supply chain. The picture is becoming clearer as the companies suffering in the floods start the process of cleaning up the plants, repairing damaged equipment and in the future re-starting production. The quarter starting in October and finishing in December has a demand rate of 180 million units, while the production volume is going to be in the region of 100 – 110 million.

Yes Minister – the story behind latest Police IT procurement decision -- A new "Police IT Company" was announced last week, which amongst other things will take a central role in IT procurement for all Police Forces. We're lucky to have an exclusive behind the scenes report (obtained without the aid of phone hacking) on the strategic thinking that went into this decision.

Reading Festival – Muse and a fitting finale -- Reading's final day and the mud has hardened, the sun is out (occasionally anyway), and Muse put on a show worthy of the final day headliners. While playing all of Origin of Symmetry was probably not what the crowd would have chosen, the amazing light show kept our interest through some of the less enthralling parts of that album. But having finished that, it was their greatest hits that really got the crowd going – Black Holes, Knights of Cydonia etc.

MOD paying over £5,000 a day (plus VAT) for consultants – we have the evidence -- We have featured our investigation into the UK Ministry of Defence's consulting contract with Alix Partners several times over the months. You may remember, we got the contract through an FOI request (see here for details), but the consultant day-rate was "redacted" i.e. kept secret. We complained about this, and last week we had a nice letter from the MOD's Head of Corporate Information, Katie de Bourcier, saying that "the arguments for disclosure outweigh those in favour of release". Thank you, Katie.

The Dynamic Marketplace – a step forward for Government procurement and e-sourcing? -- We looked at the Cabinet Office "Contracts Finder" last week, the portal that allows potential suppliers to look for bidding opportunities across central UK government. We felt it hadn't really got going yet – there were very few contracts being advertised, hence there was limited value at the moment for small firms. Then lo! As if by magic, Cabinet Office announced something that could prove much more useful for small firms bidding for Government work. However, just like Contracts Finder, the new "Dynamic Marketplace" (DM) is a good idea that may or may not actually work in practice. It all depends on whether government bodies will use it.

- Sheena Moore

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