Down the Procurement Pub with Queen, Odgers, Brexit, the NHS, HS2 and Miley

It’s not often we can show you a CIPS Past President and Companion of the Bath dressed up as Freddie Mercury, but here we have Mr David Smith, FCIPS CB, ex Commercial Director at the DWP, performing the other Friday in a special Queen tribute evening at the Hare and Hounds, Claygate. Considering this was a band that only had two rehearsals before the gig, with members drawn from various local groups, it was a remarkable performance. The evening was great fun, and the whole pub attempting to supply the multi-part operatic harmony section on Bohemian Rhapsody was hilarious! Generally, though, the musicianship on display was pretty remarkable. As were the costumes ….

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Monday saw the crème de la crème of the London procurement world gathered for the Odgers Christmas gathering. It’s been another good year for the top recruitment firm, with the procurement practice capably led by Lucy Harding, and expansion into wider supply chain areas seems to be their goal now.

It was good to see many familiar faces there and meet some interesting new people, even if I could only stay for a short time. Only got into one minor argument too, not bad going really ….

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Not wanting to get too deeply into Brexit matters – it is just so depressing – but does anyone really think that the EU is going to re-negotiate, with our current Prime Minster, a Tory replacement, Jeremy Corbyn (post election) or Sir David Attenborough, come to that? (Labour’s position is deeply ridiculous really – somehow, they claim they would be able to negotiate all the things the EU has explicitly said it won’t do). Why on earth would the EU concede anything more to anyone? They have a more than acceptable BATNA in negotiating terms, they don’t really care I suspect too much what we do now, and I have no doubt the EU leaders are just as sick of the whole affair as most of us in the UK are.  I’m not sure what happens next, but I would bet a lot of money against a re-negotiated deal being the end-point here.

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Thanks to everyone who tuned in this week for our webinar with Coupa on “Community Intelligence- a Procurement Revolution”. We’ll have more on the session next week, and watch out for our briefing paper on the same topic, coming soon. Our final webinar for 2017 is next week, with risk management solutions provider riskmethods, when the title is Understand the Risk Big Picture — It Doesn't Stop at Supplier Risk.  You can register here – it’s on Thursday December 13th at 2pm (UK time).  Much to talk about in the risk area, as I’m sure you realise, so tune in for some thoughts and tips on what might be the big issues for 2019, and how organisations can generally improve their supply chain risk management.

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Also, next week, I’m chairing The Future of NHS conference at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford. Its free to practitioners and we’re looking forward to a good day of discussion around the latest in procurement-related technology and much more. Your final chance to register is here – free to NHS procurement practitioners.

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Do we feel sorry for the Chairman of both Crossrail and HS2, Sir Terry Morgan, who was very publicly pushed out of both roles this week, following the delays and cost overruns at Crossrail? He’d only chaired HS2 since this summer! Well, not really, but of course he is a public scapegoat for the problems and sacking him protects the really important people – the politicians.

Also, this week, a Transport Select Committee report identified the Transport Minister, Chris Grayling, as ultimately responsible for the rail chaos following the timetable changes in May. So, did he do the decent thing and resign? Of course not. Meanwhile, HS2 looks set to be perhaps the biggest money pit of the next decade, a vanity project with limited benefits, spending mega-billions at a time when basic public services – the police, social care, children’s mental health – are falling over due to lack of funding. Crazy.

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We’ve always tried to bring you a pretty eclectic mix of Friday music here, and you may not have Miley Cyrus on your list of credible artists. But this is just a great single, produced in conjunction with Mark Ronson, with a strong video too. This will become a “classic” track, I’m sure, destined to be played for many years to come, with its “Jolene meets the dance floor” vibe.

LATE AND SAD NEWS

We heard just last night that Pete Shelley of the Buzzcoocks has died, aged just 63 - very sad. They were punk pioneers and inspirations for many, and this is just one of the finest pop songs of all time, as well as being on my potential Desert Island Discs list of favourite all-time tracks. Our good wishes and condolences to his family and friends.

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