Down the Procurement Pub with Education, Atlanta, Manzils, and Sundara Karma

We enjoyed an excellent gig last weekend from Sundara Karma. Reading University Students Union (really good venue) saw the band returning to their home town and we were glad to be up on the balcony not down in the pretty frantic mosh pit! But their music is not classic “mosh” fodder; tuneful but clever indie, with Maccabees and Arcade Fire influences. Their debut album is very good and this is a band that will headline much bigger venues.


The UK Department of Education has issued a PIN (prior information notice) available here PIN 2017-02-09 for two pilot “procurement hubs” in the south west and north west of England. Following recent work on a schools’ buying strategy, which identified a number of opportunity areas, these hubs are intended to provide support and expertise to schools, and to look for regional collaborative buying opportunities. There is £1.3 Million per hub available to fund the 12 month pilot, and you need to register by 3rd March if you want to go to one of the supplier engagement events coming soon.


We were very sad to hear last weekend that our favourite local restaurant, Manzils, was closing immediately. It seems to have been a combination of issues, but the two partners were clearly very upset when we popped in on Sunday night to say farewell. Many of our procurement friends have been entertained to lovely Indian food there over the last 15 years - food that was much, much better than a typical local curry place. (I know Jason Busch, the Spend Matters founder, will be devastated by the news). We wish the owners and staff all the best for the future, and thank them for many, many happy and delicious evenings.


In the US, there is a major corruption investigation under way in the city of Atlanta. And the latest was reported this week by Fox:

"A bombshell was dropped Tuesday at Atlanta City Hall. The city's Chief Procurement Officer, Adam Smith, was fired. The city won’t say why. Then, a short time later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized items from Smith’s City Hall procurement office where he has coordinated billions of dollars in contracts at the city". He has been in post since 2003 - not many UK CPOs survive that long in the same job. We'll keep an eye on this case ...


The Shins are back with their fourth album in 15 years. This track relates a period spent by lead singer James Mercer in Mildenhall, Suffolk in his youth, when his father (who we assume was in the US Air Force) was stationed with the RAF. That town was also where my sister started her teaching career many years ago. However, we have to ask why on earth the video was filmed in London? Could have had some lovely atmospheric shots of wide open East Anglian fields, small-town life ... much more appropriate for the song. Its rather lovely though.

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