Down the Procurement Pub with the NHS, Bill Crothers, Nigeria and Car Seat Headrest

Here is a picture from last night’s HCSA dinner and awards evening, held at the St John’s Hotel in Solihull and attended by procurement professionals from around the NHS and beyond. In fact, we wrote more about it earlier today, but this stunningly incompetent picture is actually Scott Pryde of BravoSolution at the awards dinner. His workshop with Andy McMinn (Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust) on spend analytics (and more) was apparently a huge standing room only success on day one of the conference. We will have more from the event next week!

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Bill Crothers, the government's Chief Commercial Officer, left his post this week after an eventful few years. He has been the highest profile "procurement" person we have probably ever seen in the public sector, and got the profession onto the front pages more than once - so we will certainly thank him for that, even if we haven't agreed with everything he has said or done, and wish him good luck in whatever he does next! More on his legacy, achievements and controversies to come shortly too.

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Talking of the NHS – the new rules and caps on total expenditure and fees that can be paid for temporary staff in the NHS were published last week. For instance, the maximum rate for a Consultant (the most experienced doctors) is set at £97 per hour or £130 for unsocial hours, and those rates decline to £75 and £100 by next April. That includes agency fees and all add-ons. As we said previously, the increasing rates have been driven by supply and demand, so it will be a fascinating experiment to see what happens when the market is “controlled” in this way. Will staff just accept what will be lower rates in many cases, or will we see supply falling significantly?

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Next Friday we will be at an innovative event - Electronics Watch, the organisation formed by public sector bodies to campaign for improvements in working conditions in the electronics supply chain, is holding its first event next Friday in Greenwich, London. More about that here and we will be reporting from the event too.

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As the Guardian reports, “Nigeria’s president has ordered the arrest of the former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki, accusing him of hampering the fight against Boko Haram by stealing about $2bn (£1.3bn) through phantom arms contracts. The arrest order is part of a campaign by Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in March, to tackle corruption that has enriched the country’s elite but left most Nigerians in poverty”.

Dasuki has now denied this, Jonathan Goodluck, the previous President, says it was nothing to do with him and he didn’t award fraudulent defence contracts. But to some extent, it just shows how bad the system is if there isn’t even clarity on whether this money was actually spent or not! Never mind whether it was spent properly.

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OK, so we feel we have featured a few artists here recently who although great, are not exactly unknowns – Grimes, Alessia Cara for example. But we’re sort of thinking you might not have heard of Car Seat Headrest, basically a young man (22) from Virginia, USA. He is known as Will Toledo, although that may not be his real name, and he has produced no less than 11 "albums" from his bedroom in the past five years. But his first album on a proper label is out now, and he might just be on the cusp of an indie cult breakthrough. Which if this track is anything to go by, will be thoroughly deserved. And how do they make the video look so ... weird yet real?? Actually, having listened to this five times now, it is a brilliant track!

First Voice

  1. Secret Squirrel:

    Bet Big Bad Bill’s leaving do was interesting……

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