Exclusive! David Shields appointed MD of the UK Government Procurement Service

David Shields has been appointed the Managing Director for the UK Government Procurement Service. This is an 'Accounting Officer' role (in civil service jargon), meaning the buck stops with him, as Government Procurement Service is still a Trading Fund which can trade and make a profit - just like its predecessor organisation, Buying Solutions . He will report to John Collington, the Government CPO.

This isn't, to be perfectly honest, a huge surprise - it's the role he's been carrying out on a temporary basis for some months, as his COO of Buying Solutions role morphed into this, via the recent changes and announcements about the future of Whitehall procurement (see here and here).  While we understand the headhunters were asked to look for other candidates, to ensure due process, we would have been very surprised if Shields hadn't got it!

Shields has a major task ahead of him, but he's knows his way around Government, and his background in private and public sector should help.  And he's an interesting character. Many see him as a driven, tough operator, very delivery focused; but when we interviewed him a couple of years ago for our book ("Buying Professional Services", Czerniawska and Smith), he was one of the most impressive procurement people we met in terms of real vision and strategic insight. Let's hope he can bring all of that to this role, and, as a taxpayer, we wish him every success.

We can't help just mentioning though, that the Cabinet Office announcement did say when John Collington was appointed as CPO that his role "merges two existing positions of Head of Procurement in the Cabinet Office and Chief Executive of Buying Solutions, with a consequent saving to the taxpayer".

Frankly, that always seemed a bit unlikely, as Collington's role is clearly big enough without expecting him to manage Buying Solutions or its successor in a CEO / MD fashion. So a bit of an exaggeration of the "savings" there. What has been saved of course is much of the cost of the separate team that Shields formally headed within OGC, which has now gone and (in part) been combined with the old Buying Solutions to form the new Government Procurement Service set-up.

Anyway, we will have more on developments in this area very shortly (he said enigmatically)....

Voices (3)

  1. Peter Smith:

    Responding to Mr / Ms Furlong – I believe that Adrian Kamelard is an SCS 2 so a level below John Collington (and the same as Smith and Shields).
    Kamellard does report to Watmore – and no, I’m not sure why he isn’t reporting to John C as it does feel very much like part of a CPO responsibility.

    1. Final Furlong:

      Ah yes, you’re quite right – devil in the detail – more speed, less haste.

      Referencing the new ‘transarent’ org charts published by Cabinet Office, Collington is SCS3, on a salary up to £164k (not including bonus of course) while the others are all SCS2. Though Sheilds has had to take a pay drop it seems (highly unlikely) from circa £209k to circa £149k. Lower cost of living, living in ‘Pool?

      Re: Adrian and his independent empire – welcome to the Civil Service. Either he’s doing a great job – delivering the savings, and continuing to manage Watmore better than Collington – or they (the Senior Civil Servants not Minister Maude…) will want to see Collington cut the mustard first. Afterall, Adrian has already put some big points on the scoreboard (£800m!) – whereas his peer hasn’t.

      (Probably both, I hear you say…)

  2. Final Furlong:

    So, in summary, we now have Collington as CPO, and, for additional belts and braces, he’s supported by David as Deputy CPO (who is also a CCR and CPO of the DWP).

    Just to be sure of success, we have also retained the role equivalent to Alison Littley who, as CEO, was also Accounting Officer of Buying Solutions, now the ‘UK Government Procurement Service’. As an Accounting Officer, Sheilds must have a direct reporting line into a Permanant Secretary (sorry, but that’s the rule) with Collington acting as his SRO.

    Just in case these belts and braces aren’t quite holding up, we have also retained Adrian Kamellard (as Executive Director, at the same level as Collington) to be independently in charge of the ‘Commercial Crown Representatives’ and Central Government’s SRM programme. Not sure of reporting line here, but I’m guessing that it’s also into Ian Watmore.

    So previously, we had two – Smith and Littley – and now we have four.

    Horses for courses, no doubt…

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