US military recruits squadrons of procurement people

Thanks to Jason at Spend Matters for this link; top US Defence procurement man talking about their drive to improve procurement, and in particular train new staff to reduce their dependence on contractors.

This highlights one of the issues I think the new UK Government is going to face.  We all know that parts of government are overly dependent on external contractors and consultants; including procurement areas in some organisations.  But if you want to lose those externals, you need to invest in more staff with the apprpriate capabilities.  Now, the talk so far has been all about both reductions in the numbers of public sector staff AND in parallel, cutting contractors and consultants.

This will be tough if the work still needs to be done.  I would fully support a US type approach - let's identify where the public sector has lost its internal procurement skills and make sure we get them back (and stop paying anything form £300 to £3000 a day for contractors).  But if you want to cut staff numbers and externals, without developing capability, or reducing the workload dramatically, then you are going to run into problems.  You don't need to be Derren Brown to predict that.

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