Down the Procurement Pub with Sheena Smith, NAO, Cloudbuy, Michael Gove and Whitney

Here is Sheena Smith from Spend Matters US having a glass of wine and doing her emails at our place after a hard day meeting various top procurement people (well, at least one VERY top procurement person) and drinking Pimms at a certain secret location by the Thames…  we were working, honest!


The National Audit Office report on HS2 – the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham (and onwards) came out this week and got pretty much lost in the Brexit / England football tsunami. It is a thorough, useful and content heavy report, difficult to summarise and maybe without a clear and compelling headline. We’ll come back to it next week but perhaps “the programme is doing better than it was but is still unlikely to come in on time or on budget” might be a fair summary of the NAO’s conclusions about the programme.


e-marketplace and analytcis firm Cloudbuy released their 2015 financial results, and pretty dreadful they were too. The firm’s revenues were down from £2.1 million to £1.75 million whilst losses hit £6 million!  So the firm spent £8 million to get in under £2 million – I’m sure you financial experts out there can work out the flaw in that plan. How Ronald Duncan has managed to keep getting investors to stump up cash over ten years or so to finance his various schemes is a mystery to us, to be honest. But he got another few million recently from Roberto Sella, a wealthy American and already an investor in the firm, so that should keep them going for a while in the hope that a marketplace run in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry or a social care marketplace in the UK might actually take off and make some money.


When I was young, I used to think that the stories you saw on TV – whether in Coronation Street, Dallas, or Play for Today – were far-fetched and ridiculous. As I got older, I realised that people’s lives were often just as astonishing, complicated and crazy as anything in fiction. And the events this week in the UK political world have re-inforced that. West Wing, House of Cards, Veep – the current events in both the Conservative and Labour parties are making all those shows look a little tame really. Just astonishing.  When Michael Gove was first elected as my local MP, I went to see him to tell him a bit about government procurement. He seemed quite low-key, said very little, looked vaguely startled and although I came away rather liking him, I never dreamt he would go down in history (whatever happens next) for his part in what has happened in the last few days!


Whitney is a male-led US band, confusingly, not a solo female singer, and a recommendation from the above-mentioned Sheena Smith, who is a music lover, northern soul connoisseur, and occasional DJ. We rather like this.


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