Down the Procurement Chippy With New Health Supremo, a Pub Debate, Cricket and James Vincent McMorrow

I know I go on about Lincoln and the best pub in the world (the Strugglers Inn) but the Burton Road Chippy just 400 yards from the pub is also one of the very best fish and chip shops / restaurants in the country. They tell you which trawler landed the haddock you’re eating today (and I ate on Tuesday),  which variety of potatoes are being used .. all very tasty and impressive.


The other day, on my Google news feed, I saw this headline - Barry Swanson Named UK Chief Procurement Officer.  Gosh, I thought! Has Gareth Rhys Williams had enough and gone back to some big CEO role? Or maybe Malcom Harrison has decided that Crown Commercial Service is sorted out now and doesn’t need his skills…? Then I clicked on the headline and found this. “An administrator with nearly 20 years of experience and leadership in higher education has been selected as the University of Kentucky’s new chief procurement officer (CPO). Barry Swanson assumed the CPO position at UK June 26. He comes to the university from the University of Kansas (KU), where he was associate vice provost for campus operations and CPO”.  Very naughty of the University of Kentucky to pose as “UK”!

But we do know that is the new Department of Health Chief Commercial Officer is Steve Oldfield. He is poacher turned gamekeeper with a brief to save millions - maybe billions – for the public purse from those “rip-off” (as some claim) pharmaceutical firms, such as Sanofi and Teva (that he used to work for …) More next week on this.


Even those of us who generally support capitalism as having proved itself better than the alternatives struggle sometimes. The emerging scandal of people sold leasehold houses and then being ripped off by shadowy firms who buy the leaseholds from the builders and levy huge fees is capitalism at its absolute worst. “Read the small print” is something that we all believe in as procurement professionals, and some of the victims here clearly didn’t, but we also wonder whether the legal profession shares some blame here. If the lawyer didn’t warn the buyer properly about the leasehold risk, is there not a claim for professional negligence against them?


The video of our recent pub debate Pub debate is available here. You can see Chairman David Smith, Jason Busch and me from Spend Matters, James Marland from SAP Ariba and Mayank Chandla from IBM debating whether the robots are going to rule the procurement world anytime soon.


Congratulations to the England woman’s cricket team on becoming world champions, in a game where the final few overs were as gripping as any cricket match I’ve seen in my life. I taught my daughter the basics at age about 8, and although she wasn’t really a team sports girl, to my surprise, she grasped the overarm bowling action immediately. Wow, I said, lots of people find that really difficult at first. “It’s easy, it’s just a sort of step-ball-change” she said, using her dancing training to good advantage. I think she really might have made quite a decent off-spinner if she’d stuck to it… so remember, dancing is good grounding for bowling!


James Vincent McMorrow produced one of our favourite albums of 2016 then surprised everyone with another digital release last month - and now True Care is out in physical formats today (the new Arcade Fire album is out today too). This new release is even better than his last - combining the nu-soul / R'n B vibe of Frank Ocean with Bon Iver / James Blake folky electronica. Another contender for the Spend Matters album of the year.

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Voices (3)

  1. Chris:

    Bonus points for mentioning “the Strugglers” Peter…..a great pub in a lovely city.

    However, there are a sad lack of mushy peas on that plate of fish and chips!

    1. Peter Smith:

      thanks Chris and Chris … the Strugglers is a truly great pub, but I may try the Dog and Bone next time. Won’t try the Lucky, have walked past it a few times … I’m afraid I like the concept of mushy peas more than the actuality.Strangely, I feel the same about Tartare sauce, that other key fish and chips accompaniment. I always get it and then realise it makes me feel just slightly nauseous …

  2. Chris Chapman:

    The Burton Road chippy is not to be confused with the unfortunately named Lucky Chinese takeaway in the same street which enjoys a Food Hygiene Rating of 1 out of 5….

    I recommend the award winning Dog & Bone community Batemans real ale pub hidden away down John Street on the other side of Lincoln.

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