Down the Procurement Pub with Social Enterprise UK, Basware and Eurovision

We were in the Houses of Parliament yesterday - in the tent, on the terrace, to be precise, for a Social Enterprise UK event to mark one year since the start of the "Buy Social" billion pound challenge that we reported here a year ago. New firms have signed up to support social enterprises through their procurement, and we spoke briefly to senior procurement folk from Santander, Interserve and CYBG (Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks) who are supporting the initiative.  The sandwiches were a bit basic (but when it is third sector, that's not surprising I suppose) but the House of Commons Merlot (literally) was not bad considering it cost £3.90 a bottle exc. VAT according to the stock list! We'll have more on the event next week.

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eProcurement firm Basware announced it is adding a strategic sourcing offering to its purchase-to-pay (P2P) suite, giving customers what it calls a “one-stop shop” for the source-to-pay (S2P) process, according to a press release. The new offering includes a collaborative e-sourcing solution, with eRFX and e-auction tools, as well as supply base management and contract management tools. The firms says, “Sourcing teams are more efficient and compliant in conducting sourcing events with a library of templates, sample questions and automated bid scoring with various evaluation formats, so they can focus on collaborating with key suppliers and driving more value for the business. By leveraging spend analytics from the P2P system for direct and indirect spending, sourcing and procurement teams are also equipped to right-size their supply base and negotiate favorable contracts”.

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In Staffordshire, the NHS clinical commissioning group were unable to award a major contract for cancer care. As we reported here, the final bidder – Together, a public-private consortium – did not meet the requirements in terms of handling risk. Now, the Stoke Sentinel reports that “Andrew Donald, who was the senior officer responsible for the programme, was quizzed about the failure of the procurement by Stoke-on-Trent city councillors. He told the adults and neighbourhoods overview and scrutiny committee why the contract could not be awarded. But he rejected suggestions that the process had been a waste of time and money”.

Mr Donald, who has now retired, said: “The bidder couldn't demonstrate how they were going to manage the risks we were asking them to manage in our proposals. We had asked them to increase the number of cancer patients being treated by 10 per cent but with no extra resources. They couldn't demonstrate that to us, and so we couldn't award the contract”.

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Tomorrow (Saturday 13th) sees the highlight of the popular music year. Never mind Reading Festival, or the Christmas Top of the Pops, it's Eurovision!  I was trying to explain Eurovision to an American visitor this week, and she looked increasingly confused by it all, particularly the fact that Australia now competes, and the pride that is taken in the occasional “nul points” entry. (Actually, listen to this – the last of those songs – it’s not bad at all)!

So this year, the favourites include Bulgaria who have a good-looking young man with a strong ballad that cries out for a dance remix. Portugal has a simple, classic song that could have been written any time in the last two centuries and a guy with a great falsetto voice who has suffered from a heart condition – he may not be able to perform, so it could be his sister on stage.

But the favourite is Italy, with a very good contemporary song which apparently touches on some deep philosophical issues (but is in Italian).  My personal guilty pleasure is Romania – you just can’t beat a bit of disco yodelling.

I don’t think it will win though – if Portugal gets a good draw (near the end of the show) the back-story and the sweet simplicity of Amar Pelos Dois might just do it. If not, then Italy has it.

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