Digital Procurement strategies and NHS problems to come?

We featured our first guest post from Dr Gordon Murray earlier this week. He’s an academic, advisor, and now blogger, and he’s been excelling himself recently with some excellent and though provoking writing. I’m catching up a little with his recent work, so we’ll feature a couple of his pieces today and one more in greater detail later. He ranges widely and eruditely over the procurement landscape, as you’ll see from the breadth of the posts we’ll look at.

In “Embracing digital procurement strategy”, he highlights the increasing money being spent by marketing folk in the area of social media.  He then asks two key questions:

  1. How much influence does the CPO have over this increasing area of spend?
  2. How much is being allocated within the Procurement budget for embracing digital as part of procurement strategy?


He then focuses on the second of those questions, and suggest that most CPOs are not allocating much – if any – money to developing a “digital procurement strategy”.

I'm referring to more than using mobile 'shopping cart' applications or twitter for advertising ITTs.  I mean setting out how procurement is going to make use of digital technology to achieve its objectives, say, for example, the objectives of cost reduction, risk mitigation, innovation, CSR.

Marketing are getting to grips with this, he says, but procurement is (generally) not. Do read the whole article and it’s a topic we should look at more often. However, our digital and marketing guru, and occasional guest blogger, gave birth to her first child a few weeks back, so we may have to wait until she feels like giving us some input again (congratulations to Alex Ranson and welcome William!)


In “Unhealthy diagnosis for NHS commissioning reform , Murray looks at current events in the National Health service, and points out that Sir David Nicholson, the Chief Executive, has positioned himself as the only man who can deliver the change programme underway... “quite simply, he implies, with the Prime Minister's endorsement, there is no one else in the whole world would could oversee the NHS reforms”.

Nicholson was a senior executive at regional level when the Stafford Hospital scandal was costing hundreds of lives, but he has refused to stand down despite calls from many to do so. The justification in part at least is that he is indispensable given the changes going on in the health service.

But now we see the mess around the changes to commissioning regulations, as we featured here, with proposals being issued and then withdrawn after a pushback about how much competition appeared to be inherent in the new system. We don’t know what the revised version is going to look like yet,  but Murray points out -

“So all the ducks seem lined up for an almighty mess. Change management case study ready and waiting - pity we all look set to suffer. I wonder is anyone identified as personally accountable”?

Essential reading – and we’ll have more from Dr Gordy shortly.

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