Down the Procurement Pub With a Debate, HS2, Deloitte, GEP and Gorillaz

So, the big event this week was the Pub Debate held in conjunction with our friends from Basware, with the motion being debated “This House believes that big suppliers are still ripping off the government and the taxpayer”. Here is the assembled throng at the Clarence Pub in Whitehall, settling down for the stimulating discussion ...
And, we hear you ask, who won the debate? Did Allan Watton and I persuade people that although things are improving, too many contracts still don’t deliver value and that bad behaviour from suppliers is still too common? Or did Paul Clayton and Martin Webb win the day with their arguments that suppliers’ margins are no higher in the public sector than in the private, and that people on the buy-side must take responsibility too when things do go wrong? Well… you will have to wait and read our full report on Monday!


CIPS has announced that Gerry Walsh has been appointed the interim CEO of the Institute following the recent sudden death of David Noble. There was much speculation at the recent CIPS Dinner around which Past Presidents might be suitable for and interested in that role, and Gerry was high on everyone’s list. He knows the Institute well of course, has impressively broad and deep procurement experience, and is an excellent “stakeholder manager” as well. We wish him success and good luck.


It was a really bad week for UK public procurement, with the NDA contract fiasco costing the taxpayer £100 million, and now CH2M pulling out of the contract they won - a £170m deal to develop a section of the HS2 rail link, running from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds. They withdrew after alleged conflicts of interest with another bidder, Mace, threatening to challenge based on the fact that CH2M have provided various senior staff to the buy-side of the programme. We’ll have more on this next week but really, this just isn’t good enough – in both this case and the NDA shambles, surely someone should have seen the warning signs?


It’s the time of year for reports on the procurement outlook and trends, with two recent examples that we need to get to grips with and report back on – the GEP Procurement Outlook Report says – “If you thought 2016 was a wild ride … buckle your seat belt. The fundamental economic and political changes of last year are going to continue shaking up the global business environment in 2017. How will your business be impacted, and what are the implications for procurement and supply chain teams?”

Then we have the Deloitte (in conjunction with Odgers) Annual CPO Survey. “Growth ambitions are high in an uncertain market, the pace of change and increased uncertainty requires superior levels of funding. Defensive strategies being implemented by Chief Financial Officers are demanding rapid, sustained cost reduction in parallel to a greater focus on risk from procurement. We are now sure that the traditional procurement operating model has to change. This has been driven by a lack of talent and an increase in digital innovation".

Damon Albarn is a ridicilously taleneted musician and composer, and he is back with several new Gorillaz tracks, which are varied in style but all interesting as ever. Here is one.

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