About the Author

Ken Cole
SPS Consultancy

Ken Cole has worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and was one of the founding Directors of SPS in 2001. He recently completed a three year secondment as Director of the London Centre of Excellence. Ken has thrilled many public and private audiences with his incisive analysis, robust delivery and his belief in 'telling it as it is'. His blog is a regular commentary of the improvement and efficiency agenda.

Make sure you pay a frequent visit to find out Ken's latest thoughts on the workings of government, the latest policy initiatives and much more...

Recent Blog Posts...

Hijacking Procurement
Ken Cole
Mar 25, 2013
Mr Pickles uses the 'P word'.
Ken Cole
Mar 07, 2013
Haringey Leads London
Ken Cole
Feb 14, 2013
Time to rethink Supplier Evaluation
Ken Cole
Aug 30, 2012
Smoke and Mirrors in Whitehall!
Ken Cole
Jul 12, 2012
Collaboration at its best
Ken Cole
May 25, 2012
Latest Procurement Card Scare
Ken Cole
Mar 21, 2012
iESE - a model for a Big Society?
Ken Cole
Mar 06, 2012
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
Ken Cole
Feb 03, 2012

Accounts Fallacy Exposed Yet Again!

Nov 08, 2010

Over the years, I have often been staggered by quite incredible things done in the name of good procurement – like trying to get small service companies to take out performance bonds. But one of the craziest has to be the obsession of asking to see three years accounts at the outset – and then never revisiting the company accounts again.

Today, Rok plc, the building company, follows Connaught into administration. How many saw that one coming? Well clearly Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) didn’t as, according to the BBC website, they “signed a four year contract worth £32m with Rok to handle every stage of most of its building projects”.

Notwithstanding the fact that hardly any public sector body keeps financial tabs on its big suppliers, the even bigger point for me is that having sight of three years accounts seems to provide the only safety check people do - plus, of course, you get a big tick in the box saying you did some checks. Unless such things as an ownership and market analysis are carried out too, then only minimal safeguards can be achieved. Accounts are purely a historical record that can give some pointers as to what may or may not happen in the future.

As the public sector prepares to cut back – I say prepares because the cuts have not started yet, has any one sat down to calculate how many critical suppliers are going to be dragged into the mire and follow poor old Rok and Connaught into administration?


Whether you are affected by the Rok administration or not, right now is always a good time to carry out an audit of your existing contracts and procedures and, if the audit reveals weaknesses in any current contracts, consultants can  support and assist you in addressing these.    This is the ideal time to take stock of your contracts and to learn from experience in light of the Connaught  and Rok administrations.
Andy Brookes
13/01/2011 13:24

Have Your Say...