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
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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

Avoiding another Southern Cross Debacle

Dec 06, 2011

The Public Accounts Committee recently alerted Ministers to the fact that local authorities could, in the future, face scenarios similar to the recent one with Southern Cross http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16035012. Readers will recall that this major provider, which operated 9% of all care homes, recently failed leaving many local authorities with the headache of what to do next.

Already Ministers have been making soothing noises that this can’t possibly happen again and that local authorities are now making more checks. Having been one of a small group of people that over three years ago was questioning the wisdom of having private equity owned firms owning any service connected with care provision, my response to such assurances can be summed up in three words ….I DOUBT IT

The simple fact is that most authorities satisfy themselves by simply buying in services from companies such as D&B and Experian with the hope that things may show up on the radar early enough so that a contingency plan can be hastily put in place. Procurement and commissioning exercises are usually left to chance with little scientific research being done into things such as the ownership, investment and growth plans of potential providers. Resource devoted to these and many other things at the acquisition strategy planning stage would provide some real safeguards.

If you haven’t already read it, then download our recent SOLACE sponsored white paper which picks up on this issue.



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