Down the Procurement Pub -with David Smith, Les Mosco, readers’ comments and Jonathan Wilson

Last night saw David Smith's retirement celebration, held in the glamorous surroundings of the Department of Work and Pensions “Hub” on the ground floor of their London HQ. So, you know that fear we get (well, I do anyway) that no-one will turn up to our party? Well, Mr Smith need not have worried, as around 200 people showed up, even with the unfortunate diary clash with a CIPS Fellows’ Event.Dancing cropped

Robert Devereux, the DWP Permanent Secretary, gave a funny and well-judged speech, reading what I assume were real notes from David’s HR file, including from a very early promotion interview. He was described as “holding views that are both firm and balanced” (or words to that effect), and the interviewer also commented that he was “mature for his age”. Well, some things stay the same, some things change I guess!

MeThe Front Covers, David's band, played a great set which I had the real pleasure of introducing, allowing me to live out my dream career (a DJ) for 20 seconds at least. Once the band got going, with a brass section really adding to songs like "Knock on Wood", there was some serious boogieing going on, and I have the pictures to prove it...!

tim jones croppedI don't think he's going to disappear from our procurement lives, but we wish David (and his family) every happiness and good health in his retirement. We might even have an interview with him soon. It was a very good send-off anyway, and here are a few pics from the evening. (One shows a guest on guitar – the CEO of a very large public sector organisation...)

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Thanks again to everyone who comments on the site. I believe we have had our record ever number of comments this week, with the CIPS licence, supplier diversity and other topics drawing good debate. We'll pull some of them together early next week in a post, but do keep it up! It adds so much I think to the site, and if you're not a regular reader of the comments (I know they're not as prominent as I would ideally like), do take a look - it's not false modesty when I say they're often more informative or insightful than the original article.

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David Smith’s leaving do was a good chance to catch up with some old friends, including Les Mosco, the MOD’s procurement head. With Smith, David Thomas (HMRC) and Peter Coates (Health) all going, Les is the remaining big-hitting veteran of central government procurement. So I asked him how much longer he was going to hang around ( in my best investigative journalist fashion).

“Well” he said, “I’m six years into my three year contract”! Which I thought was quite amusing. No immediate plans, I think was the conclusion I drew. He seems to be enjoying himself anyway, quite an achievement in a role of that complexity and challenge.

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Here's our Friday musical treat - but come back tomorrow for my diatribe about the Mercury Music Prize shortlist (the award is next week), plus some more videos. Anyway, this is Jonathan Wilson from his new album "Fanfare", which at first listen might just be one of the quirkiest but most interesting albums of the year. (Our full October music review, including that album, plus others, will have to wait till next weekend).

First Voice

  1. David Smith:

    Peter, my thanks to you for your finely judged ‘Bob Harris’ like introduction last night. This post also gives me the opportuntiy to thank the unexpectedly (to me at least) large number of friends and colleagues (including a number of SM ‘regulars’) who came to see me off last night. I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Despite meticulous procurement planning the beer ran our early but my supply chain risk management strategy kicked in and saved the day (family on hand to run to Tesco and sweep the shelves clean). Thank you again – now to take some time off to learn to play the guitar better!

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