Down the Procurement Pub with Network Rail, East African Breweries, the Garden Bridge and Tove Lo

Here is a picture from our Procurement Pub debate on Tuesday evening - more next week! It shows a mad-eyed Jason Busch of Spend Matters US with a (Photoshopped) picture which he used to try and discredit me as his opponent in the debate.  Ha! We won anyway.

The UK government has put on hold vital upgrades to major rail lines in the Midlands and the north of England amid spiralling costs and missed targets in Network Rail’s £38.5bn upgrade programme. The chairman of Network Rail, Richard Parry-Jones, is to step down and will be replaced by London’s transport commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport minister, said the government had halted the electrification of the line from London to Sheffield and the TransPennine route between major cities in the north. McLoughlin said: “Electrification is difficult. The supply chains for complex work needs to be stronger." So what exactly has gone wrong with the supply chain, we wonder? More on next week too.


According to Business Daily Africa, a former East African Breweries Limited (EABL) director of procurement was on last week charged in Kenya with stealing more than Sh243 million from the beer maker, which is part of the Diageo group. Aristide Brilliant Nkoumondo, a Cameroonian, is facing four counts of theft by servant, which carries a prison term of up to seven years if found guilty of the offence. He is accused of embezzling the funds on four different occasions between April and October 2011. Looking at his LinkedIn entry, he has more recently been Supply Chain Director, Cameroon for Diageo, and has had a top-level procurement career with jobs in Nestle and Accenture as well as Diageo. And another story we will follow with interest.


We reported a while ago on the process for selecting the designer for the new Garden Bridge over the Thames in London. That process looked “flawed” to say the least. As the Guardian reported; “Sir Peter Hendy, the commissioner of Transport for London, has ordered a review of the procurement process for London’s garden bridge design after the Architects’ Journal revealed apparent irregularities in the tendering process”.

The chosen firm, Heatherwick, had the highest quote by some distance of three bidders in the competition to design the concept for the bridge, but was said by TfL to be the most “economically advantageous”. Heatherwick was basically chosen in advance by actress Joanna Lumley, as we reported, and as we know, it is basically UK Law that whatever Lumley wants, she gets. Well done to the Architect’s Journal for getting stuck into this whole process, and this looks more and more like a procurement stitch-up to legitimize something that had already been “agreed”. We wonder who Hendy is getting to carry out this “review” of the process?


I can't remember if we featured her album previously but Swedish songstress Tove Lo has now released Timebomb as a single and very excellent it is too. Great dance pop. And have a great weekend to everyone at Glastonbury Festival. Enjoy!

First Voice

  1. Dan:

    TFL. What a bunch of amateurs, breaking the first commandment of public procurement*. Any procurer worth his/her salt should know how to get the ‘right’ result, and when that should be done. A public project of this visibility and cost is definitely not one of those times.

    * “thou shalt not get found out”

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