Down the Procurement Pub with Parliament security, Visibl, the Kooks and Lincoln’s finest

A short week for many of us with the Easter holidays, and I had my monthly non-executive duties in beautiful Lincoln as well, which this time involved dinner and a couple of beers with the Chairman the evening before the Board.  Quite a non-procurement week for me really as I also attended the Management Consultancies Association Awards dinner last night. One of the unexpected benefits of co-writing a book called “Buying Professional Services” has been an invitation to be a judge for those awards for the last three years now.  We’ll have more from that event next week anyway, but the picture shows  the Strugglers Inn, the best real ale pub in Lincoln, and my pint of Mosaic Blonde from Oldershaw Brewery, consumed before a very good pie in Brown’s Pie Shop and Restaurant!

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Mark Perera was one of the founders of Procurement Leaders, which has been a major success story of the last decade in our industry. He stepped back from that business a while ago, whilst retaining some involvement, and formed Old Street Labs with Alex Short. Now, the first product is starting to emerge from that organisation, although it isn’t as yet a full launch – the website is more of a teaser at the moment rather than real product marketing. But it’s called Visibl and appears to be addressing supplier relationships and ‘open innovation’, even if we’re not clear as yet exactly how. Exciting though, and Perera certainly ‘gets’ both procurement and the latest technology, so we’re excited to see what exactly Visibl might be. More to come on this, to be sure.

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Thanks to David Orr for pointing out that the contract for visitor security at the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) in London is going to be competed. The contract is currently with the Metropolitan Police, but a ‘specialist commercial provider’ will be sought to run security at the three main public entrances. The Met are paid £31 million a year, which is thought to be on the high side by managers in the Palace. From personal experience, it seemed very much a standard airport security type operation, so no essential reason why it has to be provided by relatively expensive police staff, although the risk of terrorist attack does make it somewhat sensitive. So are G4S going to win this one? I doubt it somehow.

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It’s tough to come back to the music business after several years away, but the Kooks seem to be pulling off the trick and even being seen as a more ‘credible’ act than their previous positioning. They’re also one of a whole range of new bands announced for the Reading and Leeds festivals this week – the line up is looking very strong now. Anyway, this is the Kooks new single, Down, which has helped their return with its quirky vibe...

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