Down the Procurement Pub with Basware, NAO and Hippo Campus

Here is a picture of my old friend Charles Findlay (ex-Accenture Supply Chain partner) and me having a spot of lunch in Walkers of Whitehall – the best place in that vicinity for a civilised pub lunch by the way. Charles has been working for consulting firm 2020 Delivery – a plug for them as an excellent firm with super-smart people and a strong ethos of helping the public sector drive improvement. They’ve been doing an interesting project which we hope to tell you about at some stage. We were with his colleagues Phin Hodson and Antonio Weiss, who is not yet 30 (I think) but is on the leadership team of 2020, has written two books, is a school governor, started his own business, is doing a PhD and is a Labour Councillor in Harrow. Bit of an under-achiever really!

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Do you like being scared? Horror films perhaps, or maybe Hallowe’en is a highlight of your year? Well, if you do, then we can recommend the latest report from the National Audit Office. “Financial sustainability of the NHS” is a bland title for an important report that takes a look at the state of the UK’s health service, and gives a picture of a service desperately struggling financially and whose performance is declining in parallel. We’ll have more next week but quotes like “financial problems are endemic and this is not sustainable”, or “it is unclear what impact one-off measures will have on the future sustainability of the NHS or whether there is sufficient capital to renew existing assets …” or how about “a lack of incentives and unrealistic targets remain”, all certainly terrified me!

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Wednesday was the Basware Connect conference at The Crystal in London’s Docklands. I had never heard of the venue until recently but it is “home to the world's largest exhibition on the future of cities, as well as one of the world's most sustainable buildings and events venues”. We will have more reports from that event next week as well – Guy Allen and I did an “ask the expert” session which created some very good debate and highlighted that how procurement works with and influences stakeholders is right at the top of the professional agenda.

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Not a lot in the UK government’s financial “autumn statement” this week of great procurement interest. Tough times ahead, seems to be the message that most have taken from it, which one might think plays to the strengths of public procurement. But we continue to hear stories of local government in particular down-sizing and down-grading procurement functions, which is a worry.

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Hippo Campus have been big favourites of ours since their stunning set at Reading Festival 2015, and here is their latest track to hit the airwaves. Very good – and they are touring the UK early next year too. Still very young, but they have a great sound and their songs seem to combine happiness and a sort of wistful sadness in a most beguiling manner.

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