Down the Procurement Pub – a Friday gossip

Welcome to Friday lunchtime (afternoon, evening, whatever) at the Procurement Pub – this week we’re in “The Novated Contract”, a fine Victorian pub in the middle of our local town...  Pint of Windsor & Eton Conqueror, please.

This week a lot of the conversation here has been about Margaret Thatcher and her legacy. We pointed out that she was a genuine pioneer of better public sector procurement, but after a couple of rounds, the discussion at the (virtual) Spend Matters bar got a bit heated. We had stimulating comments from a number of people, generally very considered judgements, but an overall view that whilst she did much that needed doing, she also heralded an era where certain less positive qualities and priorities came to the fore.

As Dave Orr said:

“Do light touch or self-regulated markets know best and are they working for us now?

Is there a direct line between removing capital controls, de-regulation of the financial sector and large-scale offshore tax avoidance and the 2007 banking crisis too?

Whilst the old smoke stack industries may have needed replacing, what was Mrs T’s “Plan B” for the communities and people who worked in them e.g. Corby”?

 Roger Conway chipped in:

“She reduced society to a grubby game of walking all over each other to reach the top of that money pile, no matter what the cost”.

Whilst Trevor Black agreed that the unions were too powerful in some cases, and she took on that challenge, he went even further in his criticism:

“We are now morally and financially bankrupt and that is partly due to what we have inherited from the Thatcher era”.

Guy Allen, David Atkinson, Dan and Lisa Reisman all bought their metaphorical rounds, and contributed to the debate – do read all the comments here for a demonstration if nothing else of the intellect and powers of analysis amongst  Spend Matters readers!


Entries to the CIPS Supply Management Awards close today. I didn’t realise till this week that this year – and I think this is for the first time  - there is a fee if you want to submit an entry. It’s only £100 plus VAT, but that is for each team entry (I assume that means for each category you are applying for), so I wonder what that will do to the number of entries received?  And is it really worth possibly putting off some organisations from applying, just for the sake of a few grand each for CIPS and Redactive (I assume)?   I always thought the measure of success for CIPS was number of entries – a sign of interest in the profession and a desire to get recognition. If you start having to pay for entry, it changes the whole nature of it to my mind.  Anyone decided not to enter because of that?  Let us know.


Talking of awards... Gert Van Der Heijden and our friends at Spend Matters Netherlands were heavily involved last week in the Dutch Procurement Awards. Not only did that give the Spend Matters NL website a record number of daily readers  – more than we get here – it sounds like it was a very successful event. The big winners were Fokker Aerostructure (overall winner), NedTrain, VanDerLande, and ING Insurance. We’ll have a longer feature on the awards  next week, but if you can’t wait, here’s a link so you can practice your Dutch (!)and look at some of the photos from the event...


More next week on Dubai, our latest Real World Sourcing session, and a new Spend Matters paper on the thorny topic of procurement credibility and performance measurement. There’s also news of an event featuring a new software product that you really should take a look at... Have a good weekend !

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