More news on top UK Government procurement post

More on the new CPO for Government job. It is - as we reported last week - at Director General level, and reports to Ian Watmore, the COO of the Cabinet Office.  Incidentally, the 'Efficiency and Reform Group' designation seems to have gone the way of 'OGC'. (Francis Maude, the Minister,  created the ERG but the title is not liked by Watmore himself apparently).

We now understand that the new CPO role does cover more than the Buying Solutions and centralising procurement roles. In fact, it is getting back to something not a million miles away from the old OGC Chief Executive role; it is clearly positioned as the head of the procurement function across Government, with some overall governance responsibilities (not well defined yet but relating to the 'tight / loose' operating framework that Watmore and Maude are developing). It will also be the public face of Government procurmeent, so expect whoever gets it to be featured heavily in the press and on the conference circuit.

We believe it will also include responsibility for procurement policy (Sally Collier's team), including the SMEs and transparency agendas.  But it will act to support - rather than directly line manage -  the  'Commercial Portfolio' work led by Adrian Kamellard and David Pitchford's major projects team.

There's a big focus - quite rightly - on implementing the centralising procurement initiative, through procurement delivery centres and a common technology platform. That is critical now - John Collington and team may have made good progress in developing a high level operating model, but I'm sure Maude will want to see real evidence of delivery soon. That means visible agreement to the delivery centres and allocation of responsibilities around and across individual Departments and the centre, and above all, evidence of new or revised 'central' contracts delivering measurable savings.  That must be the number one priority for the successful candidate.

It is only open to central Government applicants - so no point getting my cv brushed up. Shame... So who are the runners and riders? Look out tomorrow for our first attempt to take on Betfair; we've made an offer to sponsor the recruitment process and we'll be offering odds on some of the leading runners in the Spend Matters Whitehall CPO Handicap Hurdles!

Voices (3)

  1. A different anonymous!:

    The role of the Government CPO will primarily be to get through the morass of Departmental accountability and persuading Departments that they should buy from mandated contracts. (which of course many will try to circumvent). A well known insider will be able to achieve that faster and more certainly than a new recruit to the senior levels of Government.

    I will be keen to find out if it’s a full time role or one that has to be fitted in alongside an existing one on a part time basis, with no pay as is the case for the majority of the soon to be appointed Crown Commercial Representatives and the new Government CIO, Joe Harley.

    My vote would be for David Smith at DWP, who apparently is on first name terms with the security team at the Cabinet Office and comes with an impressive track record, if you believe the DWP hype machine.

  2. Anon:

    The only way to get a promotion in the public sector is to go through a restructuring exercise or to leave the organisation (75% of the hires in local government, for example, come from other local government organisations).

    So… my vote is for David Shields. He’s the obvious choice, and it lands him with a nice promotion which otherwise wouldn’t be available. But isn’t he the highest paid in HMT already? Hmmm….

    It’s interesting that the post is only advertised to civil servants, given so much of what the government has said in bringing ‘fresh’ private sector experience in (see the Sir Phillip Green report and yawn at the ‘fresh’ perspective).. unless this is a tailor-made post for Mr. Shields (who does have a significant track record at AXA and indeed at OGC).

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