Spend Matters Yearly Round-up: Part 2

Welcome to the second instalment of the Spend Matters yearly round-up, (the first is here), your faithful retrospective guide to all the important Things Which Have Happened in procurement this year.

This April saw the election of “Highland Hero” John Collington to the post of Government CPO after a hotly contested race to the finish, leaving fellow front runner “Guitar Man” David Smith to join him as Deputy Chief Procurement Officer. My money was on Seabiscuit personally, but whatever.

It was also around this time that we published our article (later to be featured in The Times) reporting the controversial news that the MOD had awarded an unadvertised £12 million consultancy contract to American firm Alix Partners. This was a decision that, understandably, attracted a tide of awkward questions from the industry at large, regarding exactly why the contract had been presented to the firm –who had comparatively little experience working with the MOD - without so much as a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine the winning bid.

May 4th is international Star Wars day, not that Emptoris seemed to notice as they whacked open their bulging chequebooks to entice yet another solutions provider into their fold. This post really should have been called “The Emptoris Strikes Back”, but sadly not all the Spend Matters contributors share my sparkling eye for a dreadful pun. The company in question was Xcitec, Munich based provider of SIM software and solutions. With minimal business overlap and the opportunity to acquire a heavily locally focused company in a major region,the merger seemed a good move for Emptoris.

May also brought us back to back re-runs of the frankly brilliant Twenty Twelve on BBC Four. Focused around the frantic incompetence of the fictional “Olympic Deliverance Authority”, Twenty Twelve brought us the very first (and possibly last) comedy procurement hero, in the form of long suffering Contracts Director Nick Jowell played by the brilliant Vincent Franklin. I haven’t got space here to explain just why it’s so funny, but I defy you not erupt in sympathetic laughter.

The 16th saw the exciting publication of our very first Spend Matters UK/Europe research paper! It focused on the potential of advanced sourcing processes to provide a powerful and oft-undervalued alternative to conventional procurement practice. It also had absolutely nothing to do with us being sponsored by four of the biggest global suppliers of this technology. Well, maybe...!

Later that month, the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation launched an innovative new catering framework for schools and colleges. Thanks to Intenda, the framework comes with a clever little technology solution that allows users to run mini-competitions easily and in a legally compliant fashion. This is a great boon to the process, which is often most integral to ensuring value for money from a contractor. We wrote another research paper about the use of frameworks and this new tool.

Finally, early June saw Whitehall announce their latest procurement strategy, proclaiming savings of “more than £3 billion a year by 2015”. As part of the initiative, a freshly “streamlined” Buying Solutions, led by David Shields, was assimilated into the new Government Procurement team, headed by Government CPO John Collington.

And the Government’s emphasis on SMEs was reiterated, with a focus on employing greater use of the EU “Open” procurement procedure, alongside the “Innovation Launchpad” and other initiatives in the hopes of meeting their target for 25% of spend going to SMEs.  And we gave you the unexpurgated “Yes Minister” tribute that explained how a target becomes an “aspiration” and the beauty of talking about 25% of spend “in the supply chain”!

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