The Return of James Pond, Licensed to Bill

“So Q, what have you got for me today”?

Q smiled, which James Pond knew indicated he had a new toy that was particularly exciting him.

“You’ll like this, James”, he said, passing over a small device with a range of numbers on its upper side.

“Now suppose you’re in a negotiation, and a supplier says he will charge you £8 for a .. let’s call it a widget”.

“That’s the widget with the hidden swordstick I assume”?

“Just a widget, James. Now you know the price last year was £6. So watch. You simply press the eight here, then this symbol here and then the number six and look – the number 1.33333 comes up! That tells you that they’re after a 33% price increase”!

“Ingenious Q, very ingenious. I think that’s called a “calculator” in certain quarters. I do have the licence to bill, you know. But haven’t you got anything a bit more ... dangerous”?

“What about this”? Q pointed to a screen on his desk.

“This lovely little programme we’ve written lets you search for any supplier in the world – instantly! We’ve called it Boogle”.

“Very nice. Just a bit like Google though, isn’t it? I’m not sure knowing how to use Google is going to impress those beautiful raven-haired French girls and the long-legged ice-cold Latvian double agents, you know”.

Q turned to James.

“Look James, I don’t know what they told you when you joined. You are the Deputy Head of Procurement for Information and Communications Technology Infrastructure Projects. Your salary is £58,794 - £64,824 if I recall the advert. It’s a jolly interesting job, lots of responsibility, great stuff to work on. But you’re not going to get a gun. Or a fountain pen that turns into a submarine. Or a beautiful Latvian assistant. Or ..

“OK, OK, I get the message! I just thought that joining MI5 might be a little bit more - oh never mind”.

James turned, crestfallen and headed for the door. Then he paused.

“Not even a briefcase with a hidden recording device and camera? So I can keep records of supplier conversations and visits?”

Q hesitated, then smiled. “Well, we might run to that I guess ... see if you can find one in the Banner Stationery catalogue. I’ll authorise it”!


But, joking aside, the UK Security Service’s MI5 Agency (domestic security) is advertising a range of procurement jobs, from Procurement Officer on £30K up to “James’ job” above! There are also opportunities at the sister agencies MI6  and GCHQ . There is a website page here with more information, and an insight from a serving procurement professional - “David” - into what the job really is like. I’m sure it is a fascinating place to work. As David says:

“But there are challenges in MI5 that can stretch your abilities, test your knowledge and develop your commercial capability, whether it be the challenges of security or the potential to deal with short notice operational requirements, thinking creatively to source sensitive and bespoke technologies. This job is never dull and gives you different challenges on a daily basis”.

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