Bill Crothers, Government Chief Procurement – sorry, Commmercial Officer, and his many memberships

After we wrote our slightly tongue in cheek piece here about Bill Crothers and whether he was still a CIPS member, we received a note from a reader, who obviously hasn’t anything better to do than go through old Cabinet Office records of senior executives’ business expenses.  I mean, get a life!  You should be more like me (currently reading copies of Supply Management from 1999 - but more on that another day).

Only joking - we are indebted to our correspondent who pointed out that in the January – March 2013 records, (page 4 of the document),  Bill Crothers CB claimed £188 for “CIPS membership renewal”.   He also claimed £189 for a BCS (British Computer Society) membership renewal, and no less than a whopping £320 for a ICAEW renewal (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales). That’s what you can charge when you are a “real” profession – you can see why David Noble wants to take CIPS in that direction!

The equivalent report for Jan - March 2014 has not been published yet (at time of writing this). But it should be out soon really, as it appears to be overdue. So it will be interesting to see what happened this year.

Some people might ask, of course, whether it is reasonable that the government’s Chief Commercial Officer, tasked with saving money for the taxpayer, should be charging £800 worth of his personal society memberships to the taxpayer? Does he really need to be a member of BCS to do his job, for instance? Or indeed ACAEW – it’s not as if he is doing an accounting job for government.

Some people might feel that is even less appropriate when he earns £150K a year and is also presumably a multi-millionaire (as he was a Partner of Accenture at the time the firm floated).

You might feel that claiming so much is not the most sensitive thing to do in the current climate, given the continuous focus on MPs expenses, austerity and so on.  You may feel it shows a certain amount of insensitivity and poor judgement. You might very well think that – I could not possibly comment. (© Copyright Francis Urquhart)

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