DWP want a Procurement Director – David Smith’s successor, perhaps?

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are in the market for a Director of Procurement, a role that is in effect the number two to David Smith, Commercial Director and current CIPS President.

It appears to cover the core sourcing activities – so assuming it isn’t a 1:1 reporting structure, it may not include aspects such as strategy, technology and governance perhaps which I guess  report into Smith separately. But with 250 direct reports, it’s a huge job by any standards, and it is SCS2 level which is pretty senior in civil service terms, even if the advertised salary of £100K is not up to leading private sector employers for a role of this magnitude.

But don’t forget the value of a civil service, index linked pension, worth something approaching 40% of salary in actuarial terms. And these jobs are genuinely fascinating  - you will be dealing with matters that you will see reported on the front pages of the newspapers !

DWP are the biggest spending non-military central department in the UK government, with around £3 billion a year going on everything from huge IT operations and projects to the sensitive and innovative contracts with providers in the Welfare to Work space. Forgetting the political issues around that programme, the commercial aspects have been ground breaking with payment by results being used on a scale never seen before in the public sector.

DWP have lost a couple of big-hitters in the last 18 months or so – Lee Tribe went off to run procurement at the Metropolitan Police, and more recently Anthony Kilbride went back to the private sector with DHL. Hence there’s a need to recruit into this role. There’s also maybe a bit of a hidden agenda, in that David Smith – how can I put this nicely – well, he won’t be applying for the CIPS Young Purchaser of the Year any time soon, let’s put it like that!

Seriously, there were rumours of his imminent retirement in 2010 year around election time, but I think he’s enjoyed the challenge of the new government, as well as his year as CIPS President of course. But I would be surprised if he was still there by the time the next election comes round, so this appointment looks very much like identifying a potential successor. That’s not a given of course – there are other very able senior procurement people in DWP who would also have a chance of the top job, but this post will give the incumbent a good chance to stake their claim.

You can apply via this ad if you're interested. And I'm happy to talk to anyone privately if you want my perspective on life in the public sector versus private...


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  1. almost:

    “But don’t forget the value of a civil service, index linked pension, worth something approaching 40% of salary in actuarial terms”

    Err not quite – In return for 5.9% contribution, a (CPI) index linked pension of 2.03% will accrue, with an actuarial value (ASLCs)* given of 24%.

    So from the 100,000 advertised, 5,900 is taken and in return 2,030 pension is gained – in return for a rolling 1 year contract with constrained bonus / perks, likely further pay freezes and increasing cuts on the way. Compare this to the pension package in any private sector annual report report………..



    *(Accruing Superannuation Liability Charges (ASLCs) Payments representing an actuarial assessment of the accruing discounted future cost of public expenditure on pensions arising from the current employment of staff. They are included in DEL. )

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