Down the Procurement Pub with ‘Spoons, Campaign4Change, Lucy Brown and the Maccabees

I was traveling this week – to family in Durham, then the CIPS branch event in Huntingdon, non-exec duties in Lincoln … I stayed in Huntingdon at Sandford House, which is a Wetherspoons pub with the first purpose-built ‘Spoons hotel in the UK. It did look a bit like a shed plonked down in the car park from the outside but it was very pleasant inside, half a star rating up from Premier Inn or Ibis I would have said, with lovely staff too. And how do Wetherspoons do it? A choice of sandwiches (this was my pastrami bagel), with chips or salad, and your choice of real ale, all included for £5.29!  Amazing VFM.


We haven’t featured Dave Orr for a while – he is the guy who campaigned for years (and pretty successfully) to get the details of the failed IBM / Somerset Council outsourcing deal into the open. Now the work has been taken back in-house, he has been trying to establish the level of the termination costs, and the council has not been very forthcoming, refusing some of his FOI requests. Now Tony Collins has written about this on his excellent Campaign4Change website; well worth reading if you are interested in public sector and / or major outsourcing programmes.


It is not every day you see a full-size picture of a procurement person on the platform of a London Tube station, but this is what hit me at Westminster tube last week. This is Lucy Brown, from Boeing Contracts and Sourcing, one of a series of the aerospace firm’s employees used in their latest campaign. I checked her out, she is a real person!  I wonder whether this campaign runs across many stations, or whether Westminster is designed to get the attention of politicians, who might be involved of course in defence contracting decisions at some point … but perhaps I am overly cynical.  But Boeing are certainly pushing the (quite valid) message about the benefits they bring to the UK economy, and well done Lucy anyway for representing the profession as well as her firm.


We congratulated Melinda Johnson last week here on her new role as Commercial Director at the Department of Health, but commented that she did not seem to quite fit the job description that was out a while ago for what we thought was that role. Well, as our reader "NH" told us in a comment (and we assume he or she knows what they are talking about), that isn’t the role Johnson has taken. Hers is the Commercial Director role Pat Mills held and we don’t know if the more senior role (Chief Commercial Officer) is still going to be filled or not. I’m not totally sure why she took this role to be honest if it wasn’t a promotion, but good luck to her!


Tomorrow is a sad day as the Maccabees play the last date on their farewell tour. After 14 years of developing into one of the very best British rock bands of the last 20 years, with four albums ranging from very good to brilliant, they are going their separate ways. Given they aren't the world's greatest extroverts they were brilliant life too and gave us some of our best ever gig experiences too - including Reading Festival in 2012, Portsmouth Pyramids 2010, then Reading Hexagon in late 2015. So many songs I could have chosen - here is one that captures perfectly the mix of sadness and joy their songs often conveyed.


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