GO Procurement Awards Coming Up – Lots of Strong Contenders!

So what did you do this weekend? I bet you didn’t spend over 12 hours reading and evaluating over 50 case studies about procurement, all entries for the GO Procurement Awards.  That’s what I did.

“The National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards are the UK’s premier celebration of excellence, achievement and advancement in this multibillion-pound sector”, is the official line, and fully accurate really. So when I was asked to be a judge for the Awards, I must admit I did not really think about quite how much work it was going to be. I was flattered, understandably, and said “yes”. And I also did not realise that I would be on holiday for what turned out to be in effect two of the three weekends when judges were going to be in marking mode. Which meant that this weekend bore the brunt of my effort.

It was tiring, and needed real concentration – it was not the sort of thing you can do with one eye on your emails or the TV. Full focus was required to try and separate the excellent from the merely good, and then get to the absolute “best”. But it was also really rather inspiring.

At a time when the public sector gets a lot of stick for its failings, and is under real pressure in a number of ways, with budgets constrained, many procurement functions shrinking, often areas like spend on training and development under threat, it was really encouraging to see the number and quantity of the entries. Organisations through central, local government, health, the police and education (and some private sector firms too) all coming up with creative ideas and excellent execution to drive procurement performance and achieve better outcomes for citizens and taxpayers in many areas.

The entries I marked (and everything is assessed by at least four people) spanned pretty much every sector and topics from sustainability to teamwork. I found it was fairly straightforward to identify a “long short-list” in each category, the excellent entries as it were, but choosing the very best is very tough. Luckily, I don’t have to do that myself – the judges’ meeting is this week where we will compare notes and scores and come to a conclusion.

The event itself is on Thursday 26th February at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. It’s a black tie affair, with the awards of course and I assume some after dinner entertainment. It should be a great evening, and you can book your tickets here.

And if you’re tempted as you hear the results to think “oh, I bet the judges just have a quick chat and decide to give it to their mates”, then I can only speak personally. But except for the odd break for sleep, food and drink, remember it was pretty much my entire weekend went into this!

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