Best of Spend Matters: UK/Europe

Spend Matters would like to introduce Brianna Tonner, a new "catch-all" editor and best-of post composer extraordinaire in the office. Bri just finished her Masters in English Literature at DePaul University, and we're thrilled to have her around. Today's post is compliments of her (and of Peter's wonderful blog work too, of course).

Public sector procurement outsourcing – why is nothing happening? -- As part of our series around procurement shared services / outsourcing, we're asking today why there hasn't been more activity in the public sector? Sure, there has been a lot of talk about mutuals and social enterprises by the coalition government, but I can't think of a major new outsource since the election in central Government. And in the shared services arena, the strategy we featured last week was noticeably vague in general and about any role for the private sector.

MOD paying over £5,000 a day (plus VAT) for consultants – we have the evidence -- We have featured our investigation into the UK Ministry of Defence's consulting contract with Alix Partners several times over the months. You may remember, we got the contract through an FOI request (see here for details), but the consultant day-rate was "redacted" i.e. kept secret. We complained about this, and last week we had a nice letter from the MOD's Head of Corporate Information, Katie de Bourcier, saying that "the arguments for disclosure outweigh those in favour of release". Thank you, Katie.

Our investigation into MOD contract hits The Times -- We are in the Times today, page 17 (thanks to Michael Savage, Political Correspondent) with our investigation into the MOD Alix Partners contract where the day rates are over £5K (including success fee). It's behind a paywall unfortunately but here are a couple of extracts.

Procurement savings for Chicago – Accenture's kind of town? -- The new mayor of Chicago is Rahm Emanuel, previously Chief of Staff to Barack Obama and a man who has been tipped as a future Presidential candidate himself. As well as being the home to the sprawling and global Spend Matters empire (Jason Busch, Lisa Reisman and family), and a place I'm visiting next month for the first time, Chicago has been known for financial mis-management, corruption, and union power. So the city's finances are in a pretty parlous state, hence it's not surprising that Emanuel is focusing on procurement as one of his cost saving priorities.

Reading Festival – Muse and a fitting finale -- Reading's final day and the mud has hardened, the sun is out (occasionally anyway), and Muse put on a show worthy of the final day headliners. While playing all of Origin of Symmetry was probably not what the crowd would have chosen, the amazing light show kept our interest through some of the less enthralling parts of that album. But having finished that, it was their greatest hits that really got the crowd going – Black Holes, Knights of Cydonia etc.

Ticon dig into Alix Partners experience -- We had an interesting email the other day from Ian Makgill of Ticon UK, who are a procurement advisory and research firm (with a specialism in the use of prepaid cards in local government – an interesting area actually, we may come back to that).

"Black Swans" hitting IT projects -- One in six big IT projects go over-budget by an average of 200%, according to new research. The study by Oxford University and McKinsey also found that spending on technology was three times more likely to spiral out of control than construction or other major projects. Researchers said that rare but high-impact problems, dubbed "black swans", were often to blame.

- Brianna Tonner

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