Exclusive! Ian Taylor leaves Education for NEPO

Breaking news...Ian Taylor, ex CIPS President and one of Government's most senior and experienced Procurement / Commercial Directors is leaving central Government for a new position in North-East local authority procurement as Director of NEPO -here's an extract from the original job advert.

The North Eastern Purchasing Organisation has been established for over 30 years and has consistently delivered significant net financial savings for its members, but the time has come to deliver a step change in our approach to local authority procurement in the region. An ambitious new business plan has been adopted, designed to strengthen our strategic capacity to reduce costs, add value and stimulate the development of our regional economy through effective collaborative procurement.

We have created a new role of Director to provide the necessary leadership to develop and manage this change and to bring energy and a more commercial approach to the organisation. The Director will have the authority to arrange new contracts on behalf of 12 councils with an annual spend of over £1.5bn on goods and services and, in partnership with other regional bodies and businesses, to energise our supply markets, and to create a strong and refreshed brand for our organisation. The Director will be a key regional figure and will represent the region at national level.

The North East is of course the finest part of the UK, with one of the best football teams in the world (and another that plays in black and white),  and has also developed some of the strongest regional procurement activity in England.  Ian will need to (and I'm sure will want to) work closely with very capable people such as Andrea Tickner, procurement head at Gateshead, who along with a few others has been instrumental in the success the region has had in terms of collaboration (and some of the work councils like Gateshead and Sunderland have done in a number of areas is as impressive as anything I've seen in local government procurement).

The role is being 'hosted' by Gateshead Council* I believe; and my understanding is that the challenge of the role rather than the financial rewards is the attraction for Ian.  What I don't know is whether the current centralisation of much Whitehall procurement (with John Collington in the lead) has been a factor in his decision.  It feels to me that it might be a very good time to wave goodbye to Great Smith Street and say hello to the Sage and the High Level Bridge!

Ian has taken procurement in the Department of Education (DfES, DCSF...etc) forward considerably over the last few years.  And one of his big successes has been to assemble a talented senior management team; whether he will be replaced at the same senior level (SCS 2) is a question I guess given the budget situation (and the move to more centralisation), but if so, there are a number of good internal candidates ready to step into his shoes.

The one stumbling block to his appointment of course is the de-contamination programme that he will as a Yorkshireman have to undertake before he is allowed to cross the Tees.... but I'm sure in a few months he will have learnt to say 'Why Aye Man' rather than 'Eh Up Luv"......

* my first Saturday job as a 15 year old was working on a stall at Gateshead indoor market; I'm not going to tell you what we sold!

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Voices (6)

  1. Capitan Nepo:

    So the question remains what was Peter selling on Gateshead market and does he still keep any samples? I am thinking its something a bit cheeky. If it really is awfuly rude we should not feed Mr Smith’s ego but libellous suggestions wouldn’t half spice up the blog!

  2. Andy Davies:

    My best wishes to Ian in his new role. Having joined London Universities Purchasing Consortium 18 months or so ago and made a lot of changes, I too thought about changing the branding, especially as we have embarked on a programme to recruit new not-for-profit Members from our neighbouring arts, sciences and education sectors in the capital. But I soon realised that this risked changing too much. LUPC is well established (tracing its origins back to 1968) and its Members have a long and very real stake in its success. They have been very supportive of the transformation I’m making but it is very much a consortium owned by its Members for its Members, with a wealth of good will – something I’ve come to value more than anything else in this job. We’re small and lean with a modest growth programme well under way, but our history is in many ways our greatest asset and our name and brand both symbolise it. I can’t see us changing it for the foreseeable…

  3. Trevor Black:

    NEPO have made a great catch. He is one of the few who managed to promote commercial thinking into the the world of Whitehall where they believe a business case is something you buy from Staples in which to carry your sandwiches. In my brief dealings with him always found him very approachable with a good sense of humour and passionate about environmental issues. I wish him every success.

  4. Peter Smith:

    More fun than consultancy….

  5. David Smith:


  6. Ian why aye Taylor:

    Peter’s intelligence gathering has let him down for once. In one very important respect. I now live in Guisborough which is part of Cleveland (albeit still really part of the historic North Riding of God’s own county). The North East is not just Tyneside. It has magificent coasts, great countryside and despite the economic worries one of the greatest chemical industrial areas in Europe and many of the uK’s greatest ports (in Teesside). Shame they don’t play rugby league that well though.

    He is correct that the procurement pople in the north east and in my team at DfE are both brilliant and it will be a wrench to change roles. Especially at this time. But after having just been on a massively delayed East Coast Train back north I know that the new challenge plus work life balance are the winning arguments.

    A question for fellow PS blog readers: part of the plan to transform NEPO that I will be leading now will be to consider whether it should have a change of brand. My instinct is that it would not be appropriate to to do so in the current climate but deep down I’m wondering if thats just because I can’t think of a better name. I’d welcome ideas or support for not changing the nameplate…..

    Ian, so chuffed to actually get a headline on Peter’s blog, Taylor.

    ps any ideas WHAT Peter sold on Gateshead market back in 1960 (?)

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