Bill Crothers is new UK Government Chief Procurement Officer

So the rumours were correct (suppliers seemed to know this two weeks ago) and Bill Crothers has been appointed as the new Government Chief Procurement Officer. Indeed, it is an expanded role, with the Crown Commercial Representatives now included under his remit - they didn't report into John Collington, the previous CPO. But as they reported to Crothers in his previous role, I guess it would have been perverse not to include them as part of his new remit.

I don't know Crothers, but he's covered a lot of ground since coming into the public sector 5 years ago. An accountant by training, then a Partner in the Customer Relationship Management practice at Accenture, he's not a career procurement person, but he's been the Identify and Passport Service Commercial Director, the Home Office Commercial Director, I think also the Home Office CIO, then the Commercial Relationships Director in Cabinet Office latterly.

We wish him well and its good to see that we still have a CPO with a strengthened role - other rumours suggested the role could go altogether at one point. The Commissioning agenda now seems to be more firmly linked to procurement which addresses some of our recent fears, for instance. But there are a few questions that we'll try and answer over the next week or so.

1. What grade is the role? Collington was an SCS3 - is Crothers the same?

2. If so, that looks like a promotion for him. So was the job competed, and if so, who else went for it?

3. David Smith - DWP Commercial Director - is no longer Deputy CPO. There's no mention in the Cabinet Office announcement of why - but Sally Collier now takes that role (well done to her, one of the most competent and straightforward people I've ever worked with). But what's the story there?

4. How do other procurement leaders (Smith, Thomas, Shields, Godfrey, Mosco etc) feel about the appointment, particularly given Crothers lack of "man and boy" boy" procurement background?

5. Why make the role bigger now rather than when Collington was in charge?

We'll try and answer those questions, we'll hope to get an interview with Crothers, and we'll see how things unfold in the wonderful world of Whitehall Procurement...and more to come when we're not relying on a dodgy Internet connection in the Lord Moon of the Mall...





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Voices (5)

  1. Procurincess:

    To my knowledge CIPS invites people to become a Fellow, they don’t hand them out like gongs.

    1. Final Furlong:

      That’s incorrect. Some have been given out solely on the basis of the position they take up in government eg CEO of OGC.

  2. Final Furlong:

    Peter: please determine answers to these questions:

    1. If this role was a CIO or a CFO for all of Government, would they have appointed a person with just 5 years experience or knowledge (and with no qualifications or formal training) in the most senior role in IT or Finance? Ditto, HR, Marketing etc etc (ad infinitum…);

    2. It’s one of the biggest CPO jobs on this planet – and they still couldn’t be bothered (for the second time!) advertising it outside of the Civil Service?;

    3. When was Bill awarded his FCIPS? With only 5 years experience in procurement, how did this happen? (Must have been ‘recently’.) Some extremely clever folk in procurement haven’t been awarded FCIPS yet – David Smith only got his FCIPS (I’m told) in the last 3 years, and he was awarded a CB before CIPS woke up to the fact that he’d dedicated his whole life to procurement

    4. Is he on a fixed term contract?

  3. Clive Sparrrow:

    Interesting to see how Accenture people appear to fast track their way through the senior ranks of the Cabinet Office.

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