When Procurement Takes Up 66% of Front Page News

newspaper Claudio Divizia/Adobe Stock

Yesterday, I was waiting for the train at the Farnborough station with my U.K. colleague Peter Smith, who had just picked up his daily paper (The Times) from the newsstand. Reading over his shoulder while waiting for a Southwest Train (perhaps the only on-time one of the week), I could not believe what I saw: two (of three) front page stories centered on procurement!

Peter Smith, Spend Matters UK/Europe Managing Director, with The Times on Dec. 7, 2016

The first story, on the left side of the front page (see picture), centered on services procurement and the use of interim executives (contractors) at hospitals versus employees. Specifically, “hospitals have been ordered to end ‘eye-wateringly high’ payments to stand-in bosses after a watchdog found that salaries of more than £400,000 have become routine” and that “some temporary staff could avoid tax on their NHS pay under arrangements described by regulators as deeply unpalatable”.

The second (reported on via The New York Times but also in the Times of London, in the picture on the right side of the front page), captured the news out of Washington that “President-elect Donald J. Trump took a shot on Tuesday at one of the nation’s largest manufacturers, Boeing, sharply criticizing a pending order for a new Air Force One and suggesting that the company was ‘doing a little bit of a number’ with the cost of the next generation of presidential aircraft.”

As Trump tweeted earlier, “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”

What a remarkable procurement day! On two sides of the Atlantic, a contingent workforce scandal and a tweet to cancel a government procurement contract — by a President-elect — captured on a single newspaper front page.

But there’s more!

Another story — which did not make the small tabloid format front page of the Times for what could have been a procurement news trifecta — out of the U.K. Wednesday notes that:

“Pharma giant Pfizer was on Wednesday slapped with the biggest penalty imposed by Britain’s competition watchdog, an £84 million fine for charging the NHS ‘excessive and unfair prices’ for a key anti-epilepsy drug.

“In 2012, Viagra-maker Pfizer stripped its epilepsy drug Epanutin of its branding, turning it into a generic medicine, phenytoin sodium, as these are not subject to price regulation. It then sold the license to British drugs distributor Flynn Pharma, which was today fined £5.2 million for its role in the scandal.”

That’s three front page news stories on procurement in a single day.

If anyone thought procurement wouldn’t be a front page news item going into 2017, then guess again!

We’ve also been tipped off on a forthcoming news story in Private Eye that Mr. Smith attempted to defraud Azul Partners, Spend Matters parent company in the U.S., through issuing a fraudulent invoice and collaborating with our procurement department to approve it. (Rumor has it, Mr. Smith has various gambling debts associated with betting on Sunderland.)

But that news will have to wait until next fortnight’s edition.  

Share on Procurious

First Voice

  1. Taras Berezowsky:

    Mr. Smith certainly does look nefarious in that shot.

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.