Down the Procurement Pub with Science Warehouse, Melinda Johnson, CIPS and Selena Gomez

I was in Leeds this week for the Science Warehouse customer conference and had an early dinner at the Town Hall Tavern, on my shortlist for the best pub in England. Timothy Taylor beers feature – including a lovely summer ale and their delicious dark mild. And the food is great, unpretentious in its description but true gastro-pub quality.

The Gammon, Egg and Chips is simply the archetype of that dish; like Heston Blumenthal’s pea and ham soup at the Hind’s Head in Bray, you cannot imagine that seemingly simple dish being cooked any better. So the Tavern presents locally sourced pork, crispy fat and tender meat, perfectly cooked chips and fried egg, supported with a nicely dressed salad including 8 different ingredients and home-made pineapple relish (with star anise and cloves)… All better than many a Michelin-starred dish I’ve eaten. Here is the before and after of my plate.


We’ll have full coverage of the Science Warehouse event early next week, but Tim Brannon and I had a good chat during the day - a mere 20 years or so since we last met! He worked in the Benefits Agency procurement team when I was DSS Procurement Director, and left to take up a role as the first procurement professional at Leeds University. Scroll forward some 20 years, and he is Head of Procurement with a team of some 40 people, having established procurement in a great position in the University. It’s a great story, and we hope to interview him properly shortly and bring you more about that journey.


Congratulations – we think – to Melinda Johnson who has been appointed Commercial Director at the Department of Health. She moves from the Department of Transport where she held the  same role, and takes on some real challenges at DH.  We’ve known her for many years and she is a very effective procurement leader, and DH is lucky to have her. What is somewhat odd though is that as we reported here, DH seemed to be looking primarily for someone who understood the pharma market and could take on the industry and save billions in drug costs to the NHS. That is not Johnson’s background, clearly. So while she is a good appointment, there would have been other external applicants we suspect if it had been advertised as a more “conventional” commercial or procurement director role.  Good luck to her anyway.


Don’t forget, I’m speaking at the CIPS Peterborough / Cambridge branch event next Tuesday at 6pm, at Huntingdon Racecourse. I’m talking about the latest thinking in behavioural psychology and what it means to negotiation. It is a fascinating topic and we will have plenty of audience interaction too … it is free to CIPS members, bookings are going well and there aren’t many tickets left but there are a few available here if you are interested. William Warren from Hays is also talking about the CIPS/Hays 2017 salary survey.


I know Selena Gomez is not a credible artist in many music fan’s eyes, but I really like her latest song, Bad Liar which samples the bass-line from Talking Heads’ classic Psycho Killer.  It’s interesting too, not a typical pop song by any means.

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  1. NH:

    Re: Melinda Johnson and DH. The roles mentioned I understand are different positions. Melinda takes the role vacated by Pat Mills (SCS2). The Chief Commercial Officer was a new position (SCS3) that I assume currently remains unfilled?

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