David Smith CB – deputy Chief Procurement Officer, CCR and CPO of DWP

Aren't there any more initials you could go for, Mr. Smith?

The appointment by the UK Government of David Smith as John Collington's deputy was unexpected. Smith already has a huge job in the Department of Work and Pensions, with some major challenges. There's a welfare to work programme to be delivered by suppliers; a programme that will be a major achievement of this Government if it works well. There's the development of the Universal Benefit with a mega-IT change programme and some hefty contracts no doubt to let and manage. All in an environment where headcount will only be going in one direction.

He's also taken on a Crown Commercial Representative (CCR) role as we reported last week, and we understand he has got some of the VERY biggest suppliers to Government in his portfolio.  So why the Deputy CPO role as well? It's not as if he would have left otherwise; he would have continued in DWP (unlike Collington, who I'm sure would have left Government if he hadn't got the CPO role).

Is it a gesture just to keep him on board with the whole programme? Or is there more to it than that?

It's hard to get around the offer from Ian Watmore being at least in part to soften the blow of not getting the top job. But there is one aspect that might have interested Watmore and Smith himself. Being the deputy CPO and a CCR means that he is the only person - apart from Watmore himself - who has a 360 degree view of everything going on in Government procurement. Collington as CPO has no involvement with the 'top suppliers' programme and the CCRs. Smith obviously does, he's now linked in to the centralisation agenda, and of course he still sees the Departmental perspective with his DWP hat on.

So I'm not sure how he will play it, but it does put him in an interesting and potentially powerful position, and makes him well-placed to support Watmore across the entire picture. My guess is that was what made him accept the role; not purely a love of acronyms!

And some of you will also know about his other talents; here's a nice example. (Takes a few seconds to get going...)

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