Down the Procurement Pub with Dogs, Chickens, the LSE and Courtney Marie Andrews

A quiet time socially after last week’s Jason Busch visit. But some travelling – my non-exec board in Lincoln, then up to see Mother in Durham and as this gets published, I will be visiting NEPO (the north-east purchasing organisation) in Newcastle.

This picture is from the bar of the Tower Hotel in Lincoln, where I sat next to the largest dog I have ever seen in a pub in my life. You can’t quite get the sense of it from my picture, but the St Bernard was the size of a sheep – and he was only seven months old, a puppy really! So well behaved too, happy with his bowl of water and a large bone …

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This week saw some pretty strange procurement stories. I mean, how difficult can delivering chicken to some take-away retail outlets be? It’s not exactly rocket science is it – I mean supply chain management for the Space Shuttle of course. Or even keeping Sainsbury’s shelves stocked must be an order of magnitude trickier than keeping Kentucky Fried Chicken supplied with … chicken.  We’re still not clear exactly what went wrong with KFC and their logistics suppliers DHL and QSL, but we’ll do a bit more digging over the weekend and see what we can say next week. Heads should certainly roll somewhere – and we don’t just mean chickens’ heads …

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Even the LSE (London School of Economics) is getting into public sector procurement issues following the collapse of Carillion. This article from Bob Hudson, Professor in the Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent, on the LSE website, looks at procurement of social care provision. It suggests that a move to more local procurement from smaller-scale providers might be sensible, and it looks like a thoughtful piece that we need to come back to in more detail – have a read now of the original though.

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Very sad to hear that Russell Hume Ltd, the meat supplier closed down after the Food Standards Agency found bad practice in its factories, has gone into administration. That seemed almost inevitable after the problems  - let’s hope for the sake of the workforce that a buyer is found and the business can continue in some way. At the moment, 266 have been made redundant. We still don’t know the whole story but at some stage it would be good to know exactly what the FSA found – was it bad enough to justify killing a business that was seen as a high-quality provider for many years?

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Courtney Marie Andrews. You met her at a party, the two of you started talking. Cool girl, not unattractive, nice hair.  She told you she was playing the following evening at an open mic night at a local bar / pub, so you went along.  Nothing better to do. Maybe twenty people there, middle aged guy singing Ed Sheeran, badly, lukewarm applause, then Courtney walked onto the small stage. She smiled, said “hi”, plugged in her electric guitar, and started singing this song. And within approximately 45 seconds, you knew you were in love.

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