A Procurement Pub Debate with Procserve – Join us on April 28th

Back in the early days of Spend Matters UK/Europe, we held two or three pub debates. They were great fun and very popular, and we have kept saying “we must do some more” for a couple of years now.

And finally, I’m delighted to say that this year we’re going to actually make that happen. And the first, sponsored by the good people at Procserve, is on April 28th, at the Red Lion Pub in Whitehall, just around the corner from the Houses of Parliament. (That’s relevant when you see the topic).

The format is based loosely on the Oxford and Cambridge Union debating societies – but more fun. We have a motion which is to be debated. Two people speak in favour of the motion and two against. Insightful analysis and beautifully crafted but rapier sharp personal insults are both expected as part of the process. Then we have questions from the floor; and finally a vote to see which side has won the support of the audience.

In our case, each speaker is restricted to just 7 minutes, so the whole event is short and sharp. We’ll assemble at 5.30, the debate starts at 6pm and we will be all finished before 7pm (although there may be a certain amount of continued discussion over a drink I suspect). Food is also provided to help the evening along.

Our topic – very relevant to the location and the season, with the UK election around the corner – is this.

“This House believes that the result of the General Election will have no impact on public procurement”.

By "public procurement" we include buyers and firms selling into the UK government – so does it really matter who is in charge? Let’s face it, major strategies such as outsourcing, PFI, procurement centralisation, have continued through several governments of different types. So who cares? On the other hand, with Labour talking about restricting the margins of NHS suppliers, and hitting energy firms, perhaps the result on May 7th really might bring big changes.

We will have two speakers who think it does make a difference and two who don’t. They’re going to battle it out for votes, with the winning team promised a bottle of champagne each as a motivational prize! Our speakers include two senior public sector procurement leaders (also top-class speakers) – we can announce now that Lee Tribe, the Procurement Director for the Met Police is one of them. If you have heard him speak before, you will know that he combines real insight with his personal and very engaging style! We also have a supplier to government, Jackie Lacey from the travel world, plus two more star speakers to be announced.

Tickets are free, courtesy of Procserve, but you do need to register so we know how much food to provide - you can do that here.  And put the date in your diary, I'm sure it is going to be an interesting and enjoyable session.  And maybe we will see some Basware folk turning up too following yesterday's exciting news...

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