Spend Matters hits the Public Administration Select Committee

I made my first and quite possibly last appearance before the Public Administration Select Committee yesterday. That’s a group of UK members of Parliament with an interest in, erm, public administration.

Nerves weren't as much of an issue as I expected, perhaps because there were only 4 of the 10 Committee members present, around 5 admin / typing type people, and a grand total of 2 spectators. One was a lady of a certain age with a large plastic bag, into which she occasionally delved, and the other a gentlemen in  a suit who I guessed was a retired civil servant. (And no, they weren't my mum and dad)!

There is something inherently flattering about people asking you your opinion.  Trying to get the balance between sounding knowledgeable without coming over as a smart-ar*e was something I found particularly challenging and apologies if I failed at some points... I think I got a bit over excited about West Coast Rail for instance!

The topic for the session was supposed to be skills and capability. There were a few diversions into pure politics - one MP criticising the government for the state of the nuclear energy situation in the UK, blame for which (as I did point out) can hardly be laid at the door of the procurement community!

David Noble and Andrew Coulcher of CIPS were in the same session - I thought they struck a good balance between promoting the profession without sounding like a biased "producer interest". It was also amusing to see one of the MPs reading Spend Matters on his iPad during the session - then quoting one of our articles in a question to the CIPS guys!

You can watch it here if you really want to... I'm in the second session, approximately 60 minutes in. Anyway, once I've watched it again I may comment further. Or not, as the case may be...

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Voices (2)

  1. Gordon Murray:

    I won’t be blogging on this Pete but there were more than 2 onlookers – you were being watched!!!!

  2. Public Procurer EveryWoman:

    Peter, have just watched the session (your portion first, then rewound for the first 60 mins). As usual I felt you represented the (public sector arm) of the profession with incisive and infomative comments. Really interesting to watch and listen and try and devine the view of the committee members ! My concern is that they were left with the impression that Public Sector Procurement individuals are not interested in nor receiving training which is simply not true in my experience. Just that they have rejected the CIPS public sector modules, not the whole CIPS qualification route itself. We have, perhaps chosen (as you suggested) to qualify in the more general and commercial modules. Which ironically is exactly the focus the committe suggested we should all have. Anway, well done and thanks for “representing” !

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