Down the Procurement Pub with Richard Masser, UCL Partner, the Co-op, Tradeshift and the Mystery Jets!

We’re not doing the “dry January” thing but I have resisted several drinking opportunities this week, including meeting Richard Masser, the relatively new CIPS President, in the rather lovely, hip and trendy Sanderson Hotel bar in London. And what did we choose from the extensive cocktail and fine wine menu? Yes, English Breakfast tea. We’ll have our interview with Richard for you shortly – and we will be featuring another very interesting interview starting next week – watch out for that!


We mentioned here the investigation into potential wrongdoing at the UCL Partners collaborative procurement organisation, which serves five major hospitals in London. The Health Service Journal reported this week that the Trust confirms “a senior member of staff was dismissed after disciplinary hearing last month” but didn’t name him or her.

However, we note that on the page listing contacts on the organisation’s website, the names of Alan Farnsworth, the head of the operation, and Lucy Hutchins (“special projects”) have disappeared. Hutchins, as far as we know, was a contractor, so you can draw your own conclusions about who the likely victim was. Will we ever find out more? Well, this was and is public money at stake, so we jolly well should!


On that note of controversy, the report from the first day of the Kath Harmeston / Co-op employment tribunal is pretty amazing stuff, with all sorts of accusations flying around from both parties. Here is the Guardian report; fascinating stuff, raising enough procurement issues already for a week’s worth of content for us we suspect. We will no doubt have much more on this to come!


On a happier note (for the firm anyway), Tradeshift has announced that Zurich, one of the world’s biggest insurance groups, has selected its online business-supplier management solution to transform its procure-to-pay operations in Europe - with plans to adopt it later in the US and other regions. “Zurich will take advantage of Tradeshift’s e-invoicing solution to streamline and improve the accuracy of processing payments”. It looks like Zurich is also one of the first customers to implement the recently launched eProcurement solution Tradeshift Buy to create an in-house database of supplier products “which will help make procurement more efficient and better enforce buying policies”.


The Mystery Jets, one of our favourite bands of the past ten years, are back after a three-year hiatus with their fifth album, Curve of the Earth, out next week. The first track previewed from it is Telomere, which shows a bigger sound than most of their previous work – maybe just a touch Coldplay in places, but rather lovely too.

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