Down the Procurement Pub with Mr Ensor, Coupa, Cabinet Office and Lanterns on the Lake

I had a most enjoyable pint of TEA (from the Hogsback Brewery, just down the road from here in Tongham) the other evening in London with Michael Ensor. I haven’t seen him for years - he served on the CIPS Council and other bodies when I was involved with the Institute, and was well known around public procurement in particular for many years.

He retired – sort of – a few years back, but stood for election to his local district council and soon found himself a few years later appointed Deputy Chairman of East Sussex County Council.  So it was fascinating to hear what he has to say about local authority procurement, and how his career has helped him in his recent work as an elected representative. More on that next week.

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Just what you need as you start an important event – the laptop containing all the presentations for the day comes up with “downloading system updates – 1 of 19....”,  just 5 minutes before the scheduled start time. What do you do? Wait it out, swearing gently at Microsoft as you do? Switch off and hope the machine doesn’t crash altogether? Quickly load up another laptop from your memory stick?

That was the dilemma facing Coupa at their London Roadshow yesterday. But after that stress-inducing issue, and a resulting 20 minute delay to the start, it was a very successful event. We got a view of what’s to come from Coupa and a couple of very good presentations, including an insightful client case study, that we’ll also come back to shortly.

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Much hilarity in UK central government procurement, when a note went out from Cabinet Office this week internally and around all the Departments, describing their latest re-organisation around the new Crown Commercial Service.

Describing their efficiency efforts last year, the note claimed that the efficiency cluster in the Cabinet Office (as they’re now calling it) had generated a “saving of £3.8bn, equivalent to about £250m for every household in the UK.”

We think that should be £250 – forget the million, I think! My calculations make it around £144 actually (£3.8B divided by 26.4 million households according to the Office of National Statistics). It’s still well worth having, but not quite up to the claim!

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Finally, our Friday music is Lanterns on the Lake with Another Tale from another English Town from their new album, Until The Colours Run. They're a new band to me, although they've been around a while. But this album follows some personnel changes, and if this track is anything to go by, it might be rather good. They're from Newcastle in the North-east of England - my part of the world. Well, almost.

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