Serco, Ferraris, Private Eye and proper procurement

I've been a Private Eye reader since 1979 when two of us bought about 100 old issues from another student who needed the cash.  To my lasting regret, we sold them when we left university....

But as a procurement person, it is can be a depressing read at times  with their litany of dodgy dealings in public procurement, usually in the devolved sectors.   Single tenders to mates' firms; lack of proper process; people awarding contracts then jumping ship to the supply side; it can all make you wonder just how far procurement has improved over the years.

Unusually, in the current issue, a private sector procurement issue is highlighted.  Serco's Chief Executive Chris Hyman apparently races Ferraris in his spare time; and is (according to Private Eye) sponsored by three large firms who have been Serco suppliers; White & Case, Provecta, and Arval.  But its OK, Serco say, they have procurement processes in place that ensure nothing untoward could happen........

I've found a picture here and the logos are pretty small, so I don't think we're talking millions here.  But is it acceptable?   I'm sorry,  but on balance I don't think it is.   Even if he keeps well away from supplier selection decisions, his actions must put some pressure on the Serco procurement people.  I wouldn't want to be sitting in procurement at Serco telling ARval they've just lost a contract.

And is it really just coincidence that 3 suppliers are his sponsors? Why do you think suppliers do this sort of thing?  Why do they take Chief Execs (not suggesting this applies to Serco here....) to Wimbledon and Ascot?  It is all about influence, overt or otherwise.

Very willing to publish any comments from Serco procurement people if they read this.  And apart from the procurement angle on this, I am actually a shareholder, so I'd feel reassured that value for money comes first if for instance you can confirm how often these suppliers have lost tenders.

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