Thanks for the comments, and a response from Hampshire

We love the debate here, and the fact that it can get quite heated - we enjoy the enthusiasts, the cynics, the experts and analysts who often put my thinking to shame, and the comedians!

I very rarely have to edit or even more rarely reject comments.  All I would say as a guide is this – would you be prepared to say your comment directly to the author / whoever else may be the subject of the comment (I try to remember this when I comment on other blogs!)  If you wouldn’t say it, you probably shouldn’t write it either.  I don’t think anyone stepped over that line this week but just something to bear in mind.  And of course the exception is me. Please feel free to tell me in no uncertain terms if you disagree with my views!

This week has been one of the best ever - we've had great comments with debate raging on topics including EU regulations, CIPS and Supply Management, and whether the Hampshire Council initiative we featured was as impressive as we thought it was! We'll come back to some of those next week.

But with regard to Hampshire, one comment pointed out that the savings of £2M, given the total spend of around £1 billion, didn’t sound that great. I was going to answer that personally, but Debbie Parin, who was involved in the project, beat me to it with an excellent response that I thought deserved featuring in full here.

This initiative concentrates purely on general goods and services and an agreed work plan of projects. Our remit is not “All the spend potential of 15 Councils”. The Councils of Hampshire also work together on a array of other collaborative initiatives across all aspects of procurement and commissioning that generate impressive cost savings, including our work nationally with Pro 5 and the Central Buying Consortium.
This partnership focuses on locally based, procurement officer collaboration which is in addition to the normal day job. We have a number of District Councils in this group with no procurement resource at all, with officers from other Councils providing the lead to bridge this resource gap.
Funding was made available to employ one extra member of staff to co-ordinate a procurement programme of mainly District focussed projects and we have achieved an improvement to the tune of £2 million from November 2008 to March 2011. Not a bad return and one that I am proud to put on my CV rather than embarrassed. Perhaps what is required is a bit more positive thinking…

Thanks Debbie and thanks again to everyone who comments (reads, links, follows Twitter... etc!)

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  1. David Orr:

    Peter: Can we have Debbie down here in Somerset please to show IBM/SW1 how to do it. Proof that in-house & in-sourced can work then.

    Meanwhile, the controversial South West One joint venture has made a delayed announcement for the late filed 2010 accounts, with another (allleged) thundering loss – but only after IBM have made a big charge against SW1. Is this like Vodafone’s international accounting or Goldman Sachs or even Tony Blair Enterprises?!

    Publication of the South West One Ltd. 2010 accounts

    I am writing to let you know that the Southwest One Board has signed off the 2010 Southwest One company accounts.

    As you know, over the last year we have made good progress in developing our services, we have performed well in meeting our KPIs, and we have developed robust service plans – all whilst consolidating our services after implementing major new systems.

    For the financial year January 2010 – December 2010 Southwest One made a pre-tax loss of £14.5 million. This reflects public sector austerity measures and their impact on anticipated service expansion, and accommodates both current and future impacts on the business.

    The 2010 accounts also include a one-off item of £17 million which accounts for the remaining transition and transformation costs needed to create Southwest One and implement major new systems, work which was completed during 2010.

    It is important to remember that these financial results have no impact on council taxpayers. We have taken steps to address this position and work continues to review the business model, and secure further savings for our partners while continuing to improve services.

    The transformation we have been through has been one of the largest and most complex anywhere in the public sector and I want to thank all of you who have worked so hard to deliver this.

    We remain confident the long-term objectives for Southwest One will be met and believe that we are now well positioned to deliver continued benefits for our joint venture partners, and potentially the wider public sector.

    Fiona Capstick, Chief Executive.

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