Down the Procurement Festival with Determine, Proactis, Bloom, NHS Fraud and Faim

Well, my only trip to the pub this very quiet week was with my colleague Nancy for our monthly catch-up in person, and we forgot to take a picture. So let’s look forward to this time next week, when I will be at Reading Festival for the 12th year running.  Didn’t start going till I was pretty ancient, oddly, although for much of my life it was a pretty dodgy festival (in various different ways). It is no longer a “rock” festival, that’s for sure, with more and more rap, dance, grime, and R‘n’B artists but there is a huge variation of music, so we still have identified more bands we want to see than we can possibly get round – even with my habit of jogging (slowly) between the stages and tents…  We’ll have reviews next Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday here anyway!

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Bloom Procurement Services, one of our sponsors and the firm that runs the NEPRO professional services framework, has recruited another impressive individual (after David Shields joined recently - see here). This time it is Amabel Grant, who comes in as CTO. She has been working on the Crown Marketplace at Crown Commercial Services, after a previous career in Basware and Procserve and as an innovator in public sector tech before that. We interviewed her some time ago - she's good, as well as being an ex-showjumper, and is another smart / interesting appointment for Bloom. We'll have more on the firm's approach to technology and general plans in a few weeks - we have a diary date in Newcastle for late September!

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On August 9th, Determine Corporation announced quarterly results that could at very, very best be described as “disappointing”.  Net loss for the quarter was just over $4 million, with revenues down 13.6% on the same quarter in 2017 and 10.9% on the immediately previous 3 months. Investors weren’t happy, and in the few days after the announcement, the shares lost 40% of their value, down to a new all-time closing low. The firm has some $6 million in cash and cash equivalents still – but burnt through over $7m in the last year, so really needs to turn things around pretty quickly now. The Directors on the call with analysts suggested that the next quarter looks much better, so the share price could rebound quickly.  And their product range – much of it based on good Iasta and B-Pack capability (two firms bought a few years back) generally scores well on the Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis. So there is still hope.

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More people news and Simon Dadswell, marketing supremo at software solution provider Proactis, has left the firm after 9 years, during which time he played his part in their rapid and successful growth both organically and through acquisitions.  Many procurement professionals will know him as a regular (and sensible) speaker at conferences – what will eWorld do without him!? He has been replaced by Penny Godfrey who was previously a senior manager with Millstream, acquired by Proactis in 2016. We wish Simon all the best in whatever he decides to do next – and of course also wish Penny well.

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A manager at a Gloucester NHS Trust “treated the NHS like a cash machine”. Royston Dyke, 58, led a gang who used £650,000 of taxpayers' money to fund luxury refurbishments on their homes. Dyke was responsible for overseeing project managers engaged in estate works at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust and was jailed in May along with Vincent Smith, Graham Fallows and Peter Potente  - but reporting restrictions have just been lifted. It was a pretty basic fraud – small fake purchase orders to his accomplices, under the limit that required further authorisation, with the money going to fund personal building work (or simply cash, we suspect). Poor controls by the trust though – you must never have the same person ordering, authorising the order and signing off the invoice unless you want to accept that fraud will happen.

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On a Reading note – here is a band I didn’t know until we did the research, but the Faim sound very  good. They’re playing on the Lock-Up stage on Friday. The Lock-up / the Pit (same tent, different days) was traditionally the really heavy, hardcore, punk, thrash metal sort of place, but this year, there seems to be a lot more melodic rock there  – perhaps bands displaced from the Radio 1 stage, which has more rap and grime stuff now. Certainly we’re going to be vising the Lock-up on Friday regularly…

First Voice

  1. Sam Unkim:

    Regarding NHS Fraud. It’s the ones not getting caught which worry me.

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