Bill Crothers, Government Procurement Supremo – Clearly Made Enemies!

As we said last week, we thought we would leave our Spend Matters review of Bill Crothers’ career as the UK government's Chief Procurement and Chief Commercial Officer until after the appointment of his successor. Who knows, I might apply ...

And that is still our plan. But at the weekend, we received a mysterious text, obviously from someone who had our mobile number. But we did not recognise their number and when we called it, we got a dead tone... very mysterious. Perhaps it was procurement secret agent James Pond (licensed to bill)? Yes, there is a pun in there somewhere.

Anyway, we thought it was worth publishing – you can judge for yourselves if the writer knows what he or she is talking about. It strikes us as being someone who speaks from personal experience ...  here is what our mystery person said anyway.

Bill Crothers – Looking Back

Sadly Bill squandered the best opportunity in a generation to put Government procurement in a positive light. Whatever else one thinks, Francis Maude understood better than previous Ministers in his position the importance of Government procurement and could have been a force for really positive change.

But instead, Bill misused Maude’s sponsorship. Instead of working across Government to engender sustainable and real improvement, Bill’s dictatorial centralisation antagonised almost every Department, other Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Commercial Directors.

If Bill had actually delivered that might not matter, but apart from a few hardnosed deals – and to be fair, he extracted a good settlement from the Serco/G4S debacle – he over promised and under-delivered, to an extent that was laughable; it is astonishing that time wasn’t called much earlier. Whether the reputation of government-wide procurement can recover remains to be seen.

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First Voice

  1. Effwhitt:

    I’m afraid that whilst I agree with the vast majority of this view, there is one factual inaccuracy. Mr Crothers did NOT extract any deal from Serco / G4S. He was peripheral to the negotiations at best, not even being in the room (or so I understand) – The plaudits for that lay solely with the MoJ principally Vincent Godfrey and Ann Beasley.

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