Andrew Forzani moves to Department of Work and Pensions as David Smith’s no.2

In 2005, pre blogging days when consulting was my source of income, I was asked by the Head of Procurement for Epson and Ewell Borough Council to chair a supplier workshop he was organising for the most strategic suppliers to the borough. I was rather impressed with this, as there weren’t many large Councils doing that sort of thing, let alone a relatively small borough council in suburban Surrey.

Andrew Forzani

My client turned out to be rather demanding. He wanted to see my presentation and actually made quite a few comments on it! The cheek of it... We had long discussions about what he was trying to get out of the day, and who the other key stakeholders and attendees were. But he handled it in a professional and quite low-key manner, so I never got close to saying “forget it” or demanding another day’s fee!

But I do remember saying to my wife, “that’s the hardest day’s consulting fee I’ve ever earned”. But it was a successful day in the end, and I had a grudging respect for the guy who had made me do so much work for my money.

Scroll forward; and after 5 years as Head of Procurement and Commissioning at Surrey County Council, where he went after Epsom, Andrew Forzani (for it is he) is leaving to take up the position of Director of Procurement in the Department of Work and Pensions. That means he is in effect the deputy to Commercial Director David Smith (last year’s CIPS President). Arguably, Forzani is the heir apparent, when Smith retires – which could be relatively soon, although I have a suspicion he might turn out to be the Alex Ferguson of the procurement world. And there are other very capable senior people in DWP, so Forzani certainly isn’t guaranteed the role.

I’ve kept in touch with him since our first meeting, but actually some of his strengths showed through in my first experience. He isn’t afraid to be direct, and challenge, and has a keen desire to get value for money, even from a one-day conference Chair. But he’s not a big ego, “look at me” sort of leader either. And he’s shown that progressive and forward thinking side through his time at Surrey. Building on good work historically by Andy Davies then Julie Fisher, he has made Surrey one of the very best county council procurement functions. A sign of that is the procurement joint venture with East Sussex, which seems to be working well and is one of the very few collaborations of its type – a merger almost - in public sector procurement .

And I’ve been very impressed by the quality of the team he has built around him. Laura Langstaff will take over as acting Head – she is an ex CIPS Young Purchaser of the Year, and she’s not the only impressive manager in Forzani’s team. I suspect the role will be competed given its seniority, but Langstaff will hold the fort (and more) very competently, I have no doubt. The agreement with Sussex is continuing as well, we believe – no reason why it shouldn’t, as it certainly wasn’t a one man band arrangement.

Forzani will face some big challenges at DWP with Universal Credit and the Work programme (welfare to work) being two of the most important programmes anywhere in government, both with major procurement input and implications. So well done to him, and we wish him every success!

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Voices (5)

  1. Phoenix:

    A very useful all-rounder, just as comfortable up front, creating chances and putting them away, as he is at the back, tightening up the defence. His distribution is good, too. DWP will know he’s still young enough that they’ll get his best years out of him. A very, very good signing, if he stays fit.

    1. Peter Smith:

      As long as he doesn’t replicate David Smith’s beloved West Ham’s season – a promising and attractive start, followed by a loss of form and a slide down the table. I’m sure he won’t – suspect he’ll be more ruthless in front of goal even in his suit and tie than Carlton Cole…. But he’ll be good value for his £20,000 a week.. oh sorry, one too many zeros in there!

      1. Final Furlong:

        Clearly, you two have been consuming too many of those new horse burgers. (I tried one but it gave me the trots…)

        1. Dan:

          Thats because you didn’t keep them in a stable environment

  2. Toni:

    I was impressed the first time I heard him speak at a conference on how the procurement department can be used more than just for buying stuff.
    He also did a great talk for me later on. A very able and strategic looking procurer from what I understood. Whatever job he is going to do should be enhanced by his vision.

    Good Luck to him!

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