CIPS SM Awards – Five Stars From Our Special Reporter!

I’m banned of course from CIPS SM Awards evenings* after that unfortunate incident with Rory Bremner’s dinner jacket, the guests from the Caravan Club, the CIPS President’s Chain of Office and the budgerigar.  My 200-yard exclusion zone around the venue has been rigorously enforced by the CIPS “licence to practice” internal police force, so we had to send our secret agent this year.

Cleverly, she claimed she was “looking for a Cathedral” and had arrived at the Grosvenor House because “it was too slushy in Salisbury”. It was pointed out to her that the temperature was 23C and as she had a ticket, she didn’t really need to explain herself…

Anyway, we can disclose that our agent was in fact Jenny Draper, all-round procurement legend and founder of consulting firm e-Three. She was there with Barkers, of whom you will hear more later. And we won’t disclose what time she told us she got to bed on the evening ... let’s just say she makes me look like an amateur! Here are her observations anyway, and thanks to Jenny for her contribution.

“The event was as packed full as I’ve ever seen it, and the profile of individuals and organisations attending was impressively high.  I’ve not been to the CIPS awards for a couple of years, but I felt a marked difference to the event.

  • People seemed really excited to be there; the atmosphere was fun; lots of energy in the room.
  • The host – comedian Russell Kane - was a hoot. The event organisers hit the right note – managing to combine what could be a stuffy awards night in a not hugely sexy (some would say) business function, with a host who interacted with the crowd, had us laughing at ourselves, delivered some well placed puns and kept us engaged during the category winner announcements. (Announcing ‘Upgrade Please!’ when Virgin Atlantic won a category, for example).
  • There were many of the usual organisations going for awards, but it felt like there was a healthier balance of private and public sector nominees than perhaps there was in the past.
  • Some organisations went all out to win something, and a lot of submission preparation has taken place. Jaguar Land Rover were nominated in no less 7 categories (out of 15) and thankfully for them, won one (Best Procurement Consultancy Project).
  • The International Procurement Project was worthily won by NHS Arden and GEM with NHS England.  This was a project focusing on proton beam therapy.  I didn’t realise only 2 centres in the UK used proton beam therapy as a treatment and I felt enlightened, especially since my very good friend was the recipient of such therapy recently. So I think I clapped even louder when the winner of that category was announced.
  • And it wasn’t all about the big guys/big names winning. I was delighted to cheer on Barkers for winning the category ‘Best Contribution to the Reputation of the Profession.’ Now I must declare an interest; Barker’s founders are old friends and colleagues. If they weren’t, I’d still have been delighted that they won this category for the work they do in making positive change in many lives, by running a business built on employing ex-offenders and turning their lives around as well as perceptions of them. Oh, and Barkers also give their time and expertise to community and social projects pro bono each month. A deserving winner.
  • The overall winner of the night was – (drumroll please) ‘Northumbrian Water’, and again it felt like an objective and sound choice.

All in all…. a great night, even the dinner didn’t taste mass produced and came hot and in a timely fashion”.

Thanks Jenny, a resoundingly positive review from her.  Just to add one small gripe though - having 14 finalists in a category (“Most Improved – Step Change”) does smack a bit of wanting to fill tables (as most are taken by finalist firms) rather than a serious competition. Half a dozen on the shortlist would seem to be a reasonable number; 14 is a bit daft really.

But as we said last week, many congratulations to the winners, in what looked like a strong year for entries.

* I’m not really, just joking. I do remember though the year the Caravan Club was short-listed for an award and got the biggest cheer I’ve ever heard at the event! I’m not sure why, you had to be there really …

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  1. Mr Grumpy:

    Interestingly the Procurement & Supply Chain Professional of the Year Award wasn’t awarded. Be keen to hear why not as IIRC there were 2 on the shortlist. One from the previous year’s shortlist. Under the table jobby I suspect?

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