Down the Procurement Pub With CIPS, PWC, the Oscars & Laura Marling

Jason Busch was over this week and we had a busy day at eWorld – apologies to people we didn’t get round to seeing, I was presenting and the day seemed to go in a flash. Afterwards, we had a quick beer with Mark Webb of Future Purchasing at the tiny Euston Tap, which serves an incredible collection of real and cask ales in a space about the size of my living room. Here is Mark with Jason and Nancy (our Publishing Director). Don’t forget our webinar with Mark on how to get more out of category management, coming soon (book here).

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Thanks to everyone for the comments on our two articles about David Noble (from me and from David Smith).  We are pleased that you felt they were appropriate. There is still huge shock around the profession, and the CIPS Annual Dinner next week will inevitably feel somewhat strange, not to say sad. CIPS will appoint an interim CEO first of all, we understand, and we hope the Board do the sensible thing and make that an internal person who can quickly take the reins and provide the continuity needed whilst a more extensive search is rightly undertaken for the permanent person. Frankly, we cannot see how a short-term appointment of an external interim person would help the situation or add any value.

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And there is what looks like an excellent CIPS Fellows’ event (but open to all)  next week, the day before the dinner. “Celebrating International Women's Day” is hosted by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and has some great speakers from Oxfam, Equalities Office, EY and UN Women UK – sharing a range of insights from their different perspectives. Maggie Berry and the inimitable Shirley Cooper will also be participating.  “Understand some of the challenges faced and be inspired to engage the right strategies for your own corporation to help change happen around the world”.  Just a few places left – book here.

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The way the large auditing and consulting firms have spread their tentacles into different parts of the business world is quite astonishing. So who knew, for instance, that PWC managed the Oscars voting process? Well, everyone does now, as PWC partner Brian Cullinan, is being firmly blamed for the award ceremony fiasco when La La Land was announced as the Best Film, when really it was Moonlight that had won. The suggestion is he was “distracted” backstage, perhaps too busy taking pictures of the lovely Emma Stone to get his envelopes in the right order. But it wasn’t exactly the end of the world, for goodness sake, and it gave great publicity for both films and the event. Cullinan and his colleague won’t be involved in the future, the Academy has said, but maybe they should pay PWC a bonus for all the publicity they’ve had!

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There was better news for PWC as the firm was the surprise success on the new UK central government (Crown Commercial Service) legal services framework. Some of the big name magic circle-type firms didn’t make it onto the list of a dozen or so firms, but many of the  next-level firms with a strong reputation for public procurement advice such as Mills & Reeve, DLA Piper and Bond Dickinson did. But so too did PWC, who are not often perceived as a law firm, but have built their capability in recent years. And one particular firm is lucky to be there, given the disastrous advice they gave to a public body which has resulted in a recent high-profile court case… regular readers will know of whom we speak!

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This is the fourth preview track released by Laura Marling from her new album, her sixth, Semper Femina, which is out next Friday. Is this the masterpiece she has been threatening to make since her debut album, 9 years ago? All four tracks released so far are very strong, so the signs are good. She is already the greatest female British singer-songwriter ever, we’d suggest, and is still only 27. An amazing talent.

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