Down the Procurement Stadium with West Ham, Shared Services, SSRO and Lazarus

My good friend David Smith (CIPS Past President etc.) took me to see my team, Sunderland, play at West Ham's new ground, the Olympic Stadium in Stratford last weekend. It is pretty spectacular actually, it does feel quite special just approaching the ground. We left to avoid the queues on the dot of 90 minutes and as we walked away from the ground, we heard the cheer that meant West Ham had won 1-0 with the last kick of the match. Oh well ... but they had real ale at £3.50 a pint before the match (up to £4.75 once it starts) which was a bargain and it was a most enjoyable afternoon, despite the result.

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We covered the report on the UK government’s shared services approach from the National Audit Office here.  Now the public accounts committee (made up of MPs) has issued their report. Frankly, it draws very heavily on the NAO report so there is not much that is new.  As Civil Service World says; “PAC's report is scathing in its assessment of the way the scheme was handled, saying the strategy was plagued at the outset by ineffective governance, as well as claiming that the Cabinet Office did not secure sufficient buy-in from departments because it could not convince them of the benefits of taking part in the programme”.  The PAC has given the Cabinet Office till next March to come up with a realistic business case for the centres. Or …what exactly? That’s the problem with the PAC, what can it actually do? Our only other observation is that Stephen Kelly (architect of the shared services strategy) got out at the right time!

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Our colleague Jason Busch has been at the Zycus conference this week. The firm is stronger in the USA than in Europe, it seems to me, but you can read some good stuff from Jason - start with this article, "Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Bad Seinfeld References Meet New Procurement Tech “Ingredients” (Including Blockchain)" and you can link to others from there.

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The head of the UK single-source defence procurement watchdog resigned this week - and we don't know why.  Clive Tucker had only served as the interim chairman of the Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO) since February. He gave no reasons for going - as we discussed here, the office was set up to try to reduce costs and waste in military procurement contracts where no competition was available - more than half the total annual spend of £16B falls into this category, worryingly. In a statement released to IHS Jane's on 25 October, the SSRO said Tucker "has taken the decision to leave and spend more personal and professional time on his other commitments".

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This week's track is not some bright young thing but a live recording of Michael C. Hall and the New York cast of Lazarus, the David Bowie musical, which opens in London next week. We miss him and his work seems mightier as the months tick by ...

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