Down the Procurement Pub with the NHS, Basware, the RSA and Deaf Havana

Here I am with Jeff Meredith from Basware having lunch in the Ned in the City. Jeff spends much of his time in Europe, despite being an American resident, and is a soccer fan – he actually went to the Russia / Spain match in Moscow at the recent World Cup!

Anyway, we met in The Ned, the new 5* hotel / member’s club / restaurant by the Bank of England which is very fancy, but a bit like a huge Grade 1 listed shopping mall food court. There are several different bars and “restaurants”, all in the huge open-plan ex banking hall, and it was £17 for an OK cheeseburger with somewhat soggy fries (not as good as McDonalds). Not the best VFM I would say, but very good company!


A judge threw out a supplier challenge and criticised SRCL, a subsidiary of US giant Stericycle, last week  when it lost its case against NHS England.  The firm claimed that a GP and pharmacy waste contract had been wrongfully awarded, but the judge said no, it hadn’t. He also wasn’t very happy that an internal presentation from the firm mentioned that perhaps it should “hurt the NHS” in retribution for the procurement related changes that were likely to affect its profit. We may have more on this next week – some interesting aspects to the case  including the use of auctions.


I know, it is summer still, but we are starting to gear up for the autumn conference, webinar, and workshop season. The first to put in your diary is the Basware London event on October 17th. My colleagues Nancy Clinton and Sheena Smith went to the same firm’s London event last year and said it was “great” with “really interesting presentations and not too much sales stuff”. And this year, I won’t just be there observing, I’m leading a workshop session around our summer hot topic, the “future of procurement”.  More on that next week but you can book here, and it is free of charge to practitioners.


Another topic to return to next week – the RSA issued a report titled, Move fast and fix things: how to be a public entrepreneur. Our first reaction was one of some cynicism, as it all seemed a bit pie-in-the-sky  – “This report counters the long-held caricature of the state as a slow, lumbering, bureaucratic machine and sets out to find the people, processes and practices in government that are “moving fast, and fixing things” and demonstrating a new kind of public entrepreneurship”.  Public entrepreneurship, well that’s gonna happen, isn’t it! But actually… the report looks like it has some interesting thoughts about driving value and innovation via public procurement. (In case you haven’t come across the organisation – “The mission of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is to enrich society through ideas and action” and it was founded during the Enlightenment by William Shipley in 1754).


Deaf Havana started out as a really pretty heavy rock / metal band, but moved into something a little more mainstream on their last album. There new release, due very soon, is apparently even poppier, with the Sunday Times review even drawing a Justin Bieber comparison! We haven’t heard it yet but we like the first single anyway. Very catchy. They’re playing the Reading and Leeds festivals too later this month.

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