Down the Procurement Pub with the NHS, Grenfell Tower and Barns Courtney

This has been a very social week. It started with a drink with Guy Allen, my partner for several years in the BravoSolution Real World Procurement events. We were of course discussing the future of procurement in the Brewdog bar in Soho as you can see from this very serious picture … Brewdog is a very interesting business as they have moved fairly quickly from being a micro-brewery into a mid-sized brewer and now their developing status as a bar “chain” as well, all while keeping their funky, rebellious brand image.

We can only recommend whole-heartedly the Elvis Juice 6.5% IPA and the really rather yummy Buffalo Chicken Burger (a reasonable £8). And the chips. And the Howling Hops Ruby Red wasn’t bad either. But the Howling Hops IPA was maybe even better. Then there was the iconic Brewdog Punk IPA. Or the Vagabond … (OK, that’s enough now) …


Rob Knott, now working with Virtualstock but previously in the health sector as a hospital trust CPO and a top commercial man at the Department of Health, has written a long and interesting article for the HCSA (Healthcare Supply Association) which you can find here on their website. Knott talks about the Department’s “tower” strategy for category management, technology, the need for workforce skills …  and a host of other issues. We may well come back to this shortly!


The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy will not look at procurement issues, which the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Jane Duncan, is not very happy about. The Architects’ Journal reports that she criticised the Grenfell Tower Inquiry terms of reference for not examining the ‘overall regulatory and procurement context’ for the UK construction industry. The full scope of the inquiry, which is being led by retired judge Martin Moore-Bick, was published earlier this week. ‘It is disappointing … that the terms of the inquiry do not explicitly mention the overall regulatory and procurement context for the construction of buildings in the UK,’ she said. ‘We consider this examination crucial to understanding the often complicated division of design responsibilities and the limited level of independent oversight of construction’.


Also on the health front, Sir Leonard Fenwick, CEO of the Newcastle Hospitals Trust, and one of the best-known leaders in the NHS, with 50 years of service, has been sacked for gross misconduct. He has had a long and distinguished career in the North-East, having helped to build the Freeman Hospital into a world leader in organ transplants. The announcement says that the NHS counter-fraud unit is involved and that the charges against him are “inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues”.  So we wonder given the “use of resources” description whether there is anything of a procurement / external spend nature involved here? We may find out one day, I guess. Anyway, a long and distinguished career ending like this is sad, pretty much whatever happened.


Very exciting news – you will have dual Spend Matters reporting from Reading Festival a week today as both Nancy Clinton and I will be attending, to report on the event for our music-loving readers. Nancy has never been to Reading before (although she has festival experience), so she and her daughter are giving it a try for one day this year.  We thought we might send her to review the events in the 1XTRA tent, so she can report on the latest developments in the UK Grime, Garage and Rap worlds… I just know she is a huge Young T and Bugsey fan. We wish her luck!


And on the Reading Festival front, here is one of the artists we have discovered by trawling through the line-up to check out people we didn’t know already. He’s on first thing on Friday, so whether we can make it through the queue in time to get to see him, I don’t know, but we will try. This is Barns Courtney anyway, a young British singer-songwriter, and this is very good, like his previous few tracks. I think the official description is “stadium-ready anthemic pop-rock”.

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