Public sector procurement – who deserves more pay?

Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel, got a moderately hard time from the Defence Select Committee last week (you can watch it here if you are a real fan of Defence matters). MPs weren’t totally convinced by the plans to turn Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation into a somewhat byzantine entity called a ‘non-departmental bespoke agency’, which is terminology I have never heard before.

Anyway, apart from all sorts of exciting ‘partnerships’ with private sector firms, the new body will have greater freedom to pay staff more. So good news maybe for the literally thousands of procurement and supply chain professionals who work for the organisation.

But, as we’ve said before, that raises some interesting issues about whether MOD really deserves this special treatment. There is evidence that the remuneration of the top procurement people in MOD doesn’t stack up with private sector equivalents.  But they are not badly paid by the standards of the public sector generally, we suspect.

Here are ten other procurement people – or categories of people – who we might argue are as equally deserving of special treatment as MOD. So will this MOD move lead to some further implications for reward in roles such as these?

Department for Transport – rail franchising procurement leads. Loads of money. We all know what can go wrong here (see West Coast Rail...). Then of course in the same Department we have the High-Speed Rail procurement lead. Planned to cost £40 billion. Maybe.

DWP Universal Credit – whoever leads on the money being spent with IT suppliers here! Politically, economically and socially critical.

DWP Welfare to Work – procurement lead, a programme that doesn’t  just cost billions of pounds, but is essential to the future well-being of the nation.

HMRC – whoever will lead on the re-let of the Aspire contract for all the Department’s IT services (currently with Cap Gemini). Value of many billions, strategically vital.

Crown Commercial Services - the category leads for the biggest spend categories, putting in place contracts which are mandated across all of central government and will influence entire markets.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority  –  contract management lead for outsourced contracts. Spending a fortune with contractors, probably over £100 BILLION,  not managing it very well according to many.

Department of Health – whoever is responsible for leading negotiations with doctors (GPs). Oh yes, the same for negotiations with the Pharma industry on drug prices.

Hospitals – the CPOs of our biggest hospital Trusts. Obviously vital roles.

Local authority managers at whatever level, national, regional or local, but whoever is going to develop some real strategic commercial thinking about social care provision over the next 20 years.

The CPOs in Scotland and Wales – major spend, plus they have a real impact in terms of social value and the national economies too.

And of course if you reward the people engaged in the actual contracting (or contract management), which covers many of the ten, then it is hard to see that the CPOs of the relevant organisation shouldn’t get more too.

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Voices (2)

  1. Lionel J. Botch:

    Who deserves more pay is a good question. If the premise of this potential uplift is to attract a better calibre of procurement professional then I can see the argument. But how does giving more pay on its own energise, incentivise and motivate current staff to make a difference? Would we be paying more for the same output?

  2. Dan:

    Basically everyone then. Life in the public sector is looking up!

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