Anne Rung at the Spend Matters Tech Summit – White House “CPO” Explains Her Plans

At the Spend Matters / ISM Procurement Tech Summit last week, one of the highlights was Anne Rung talking about her programme for US Federal Government procurement. Rung was appointed by President Obabma to lead the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, the closest the country has to a "government CPO". But she wasn't appointed because of her politics; she has a background in driving successful procurement improvement at State level and in the central GSA (general services administration) procurement operation.

We have covered her keynote address in more detail here and here on our Public Spend Matters Europe site. If you are at all interested in public procurement, it is well worth reading. Her team of direct reports is very small - only 13 people - so she very much works through influencing, persuasion and personality.

One other point that we didn't mention on PSME. I managed to get a few minutes with her after her session - she is enthusiastic, smart and very approachable. It was clear that she has certainly taken some ideas from the UK public sector and generally holds what has been done here in high regard. that includes aspects of Crown Commercial Services centralisation and the GDS "G-Cloud" for instance.

She also expressed some admiration for how the UK had managed to attract some serious private sector "big hitters" into government procurement; that still seems a stumbling block in Washington.

That is all good, but what did occur to me is that most of what she will have heard about UK public procurement has come from those on the inside. Indeed, that is also presumably true about anything she hears regarding public procurement in Canada, Australia, Mexico, Latvai, South Korea ...

Nothing wrong with that, but it may mean she gets a somewhat biased perspective. You don't see many CPOs standing up at conferences (whether they are public or private sector) and owning up to all their failings! So for instance, has she got the full story in terms of both the positives and the negatives of the UK Crown Commercial Service CS centralisation programme? As we have reported, and even Bill Crothers acknowledged when we interviewed him, not all has been plain sailing. There are good points that may help Rung, but does she know the whole picture.

So it's great that public procurement executives in different countries can learn from each others' experience - but it would be good if they could hear the whole truth, "warts and all"!


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