We are holding another of our famous pub debates: anyone who has been to one before will know they are based (loosely) on the Oxford and Cambridge Union debates, and are lively and entertaining, while delivering serious recommendations and ideas from our speakers of course!
So, we and our pub debate friends, Basware, the purchase-2-pay specialists, invite you to join us (pint in hand - or your favourite tipple) to discuss and vote for or against the motion:
“This House believes that major suppliers are still ripping off the government and the taxpayer"!
This could clearly go either way. On the one hand, we see regular stories in the press about firms who do appear to be taking advantage of the public sector. In the pharmaceutical industry, for instance, the large drug firms make very healthy profits and pay their top executives millions. And recently there has been the scandal of firms increasing the price of generic drugs by 100% or even 1000% once they are off the controlled list. A rip-off? It looks like it in that latter case certainly.
On the other hand, if we look at the share price of the large outsourcing firms over recent years, their decline would suggest that the market thinks the public sector is getting better at managing these firms and extracting more value for the buyer. As Rupert Soames of Serco has pointed out to his investors, government contracts are no longer a pot of gold for the supplier.
Anyway, we have an eager array of speakers ready to stand up and fight for their cause and convince you to vote for their argument (and we encourage plenty of 'polite' heckling) - they include:
Paul Clayton – entrepreneur, co-founder of public sector procurement tech firm Procserve, wine connoisseur and a stimulating and controversial speaker. Paul has built companies, worked in senior line management and consulting roles, and knows the UK public sector from the inside and outside.
Allan Watton – founder and CEO of the Best Practice Group, an advisory firm that specialises in rescuing major outsourcing deals and other strategic relationships that have gone wrong. That includes dozens - probably hundreds - in the public sector. Allan has written extensively about outsourcing and contractual issues, and his ideas on how to structure major contracts and manage powerful suppliers should be front of mind for everyone involved in these activities.
Peter Smith – managing editor of Spend Matters Europe, a CIPS Past President, ex CPO in major public and private sector, and a man with an opinion on everything procurement related, even if it is often wrong. As a (not very successful) scriptwriter for the Cambridge Footlights, his conference speeches are notable for jokes that nobody gets, and he has promised to make sure his contribution here lives up to his usual standards.
Two other speakers will be taking up the mantle, but they shall remain nameless for now - let's say 'a surprise.'
Whether you are in the private or public sector we believe you will find it a useful discussion, as well as a good networking opportunity. So do join us for what will be a stimulating evening, with food for thought for anyone who buys from and manages large and powerful suppliers.
We will be meeting at the The Clarence public house, 53 Whitehall SW1A 2HP at 5.30pm on March 28th. The debate will start at 6pm (on the dot) when four short speeches (7 minutes each) will be made, during which time they will try to persuade you to give them your vote. There will be time for questions from the audience too before you raise your hand (not the one with the pint in) to cast an Aye or a Nay!
Our pub debate is free to attend, and there will be refreshments to lubricate the vocal chords and finger food to sustain you. We do hope you can join us – but please do register to help us in planning for food. Closing time will be called at 7pm - of course you can stick around for more drinks and discussion if you wish. More details are here where you will find the link to register.
We look forward to seeing you there.