Contract management in government – we look into the crystal ball

Welcome to old Mother Smith’s tent. Just sit down there, darling, let me look into the future for you... I’m looking into my crystal ball now.  What do I see?

I’m seeing the PWC report on the contracts Serco and G4S hold with government. You know the one that was set up in the light of the tagging contracts scandal. It’s going to be published soon, I’m seeing it here, it is only a couple of months behind schedule after all...

I’m seeing the firms being criticised, but no evidence found of corporate level, systemic, fraud or desire to rip off the taxpayer. Most of the other contracts outside those in MoJ  will be found to be sort of OK, with a few issues but no evidence of anything too horrible from the suppliers. The tagging and prisoner transport incidents will be put down to “a few bad eggs” sort of thing, you know how it goes...

Ah, but now I’m seeing various government departments criticised for poor contract management processes. Not enough resource put into it. Lack of checking and auditing of information coming back from suppliers. Limited engagement at senior management levels. In fact – see this NAO report of 2008, and the accompanying Contract Management Framework, written by... I'm trying to read the name... Peter Smip ... something like that.

Now I’m seeing the government’s Chief Procurement Officer. He’s a good looking young man, isn’t he? He’s reading the report. Now he’s smiling. He seems to like it.

 “Departments are rubbish at contract management” he is saying.

“ We should centralise it all under Crown Commercial Service”, he is suggesting.

“Another 1,000 people working for me should be enough to run that”.

Oh dear, The crystal is growing cloudy... he’s gone.

What, you only came in because you wanted to know whether that chap in Finance fancies you - you're not interested in government procurement? What do you think I am, a mind-reader?

That’ll be £6.50 please. No cards, cash only.

First Voice

  1. Effwhitt:

    £6.50 for a cloudy crystal? bet I could get it on G-Cloud for a Fiver….

    Wait, I can! Only trouble is that the follw on support is £85m over 7 years.

    Where’s that crystal again?

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