Down the Procurement Pub with Tegan and Sara, PA Consulting, UKTI and Flagpoles

CIPS PP largeHere we have nine - yes, count' em, nine - CIPS Past Presidents with apparently only three almost empty glasses of wine between us.  Bonus points if you can identify all nine.  This was the CIPS Annual Dinner this week of course - shame I have my eyes closed but other than that, it's a great picture.


We still get notification emails about contract opportunities from various public sector procurement portals, a hangover from my days of running a small consulting firm. However, the classification sometimes seems a bit odd - it is certainly not just procurement consulting assignments that we hear about, and last week there was a beauty. The Metropolitan Police are looking for suppliers of "Flag and Flagpole Maintenance Services"!  Apart from the obvious questions around how exactly you maintain a flag (wash it?), it just made us chuckle generally. Perhaps we should start a competition for the strangest tender opportunity anyone has seen advertised? Tell you what, let's run that idea up the flagpole ...


A new report from National Audit Office out today lays into both UKTI (the body that is part of the Department of Business and promotes inward investment / British exports) and PA Consulting for a catalogue of procurement failings around a professional services contract.  We'll have more on this next week, but it is pretty damning - to quote:

"It is clear that, on this contract, both UKTI and PA have fallen well below the standards expected in managing public money. UKTI should have been in control of the procurement and understood the pricing; PA should have been more transparent in its dealings with UKTI".


We have also heard that there are major developments afoot in central government procurement - major enough that we're upset and surprised we haven't heard more detail until very recently.We're obviously not drinking around the Westminster and Whitehall pubs often enough. Again, more next week, but if anyone wants to drop us a line over the weekend with any insight or personal experience of the "exciting" changes - anyone been rated a "C" in an assessment centre, for instance?


Tegan and Sara were serious indie cult artists for some years (as well as being Canadians, lesbians and twin sisters), but with their 2013 album, Heartthrob, they suddenly emerged as pop genii, as it became the only album to score 10 out of 10 in a Spend Matters album review. A perfect collection of world-class pop songs, we said, or something like that. Well, their new album is out this week in the UK, and before we review it, here is one track. Sounds promising ...

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Voices (4)

  1. MG Man:

    I’m surprised that the correspondence has not been red hot on this one!
    I can only count 8 past presidents
    Peter Rushton
    Gerry Walsh
    Jayne Gibbs
    Peter Williams
    Peter Smith
    Shirley Cooper
    Ron Jarman
    Dave Smith
    There are important questions and I feel we must know the answers:
    1. Did someone go round twice?
    2. Have I been at it too long?
    3. Can’t procurement professionals count?
    4. Were/are Steps really better than S7?

    1. Peter Smith:

      I was counting Peter Williams twice (he’s so tall …)

  2. RJ:

    I think you’ve started to answer one of my longstanding queries of you, Peter, with the Tegan and Sarah share. Your musical tastes are generally so up to the minute that I depend on you to stay up to speed with my teenage kids. Wolf Alice, alt-J and Laura Marling in particular have helped me look a cool dad in their eyes! However, you must have some “guilty pleasures” hidden somewhere – do you have an occasional hankering for poodle rock, S Club 7 or Bonnie Tyler?

    1. Peter Smith:

      Many guilty pleasures on the “pop” side, preferred Steps to SC7 however, also corny country, folk singers with their fingers in their ears, Val Doonican …! But look out for our Down the Procurement Pub music this Friday which will really bring the street cred with the kids – achingly hip, I think we can say.

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