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...

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Hijacking Procurement
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Collaboration at its best
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Feb 03, 2012

Away from the P45 Solution

Jan 23, 2011

 

Many public sector bodies have worked out how they can overcome their 2011/12 budget deficit. After that some are looking for a combination of good luck, divine intervention and a change of heart from central government to eliminate future deficits. Others have turned to the P45 solution or laying off people as it is commonly known.

What about your procurement spend is my question? Surely that is the logical place to remove cost, particularly as it is relatively easy to take out 15% per annum with a combination of smart thinking, shared working and strong negotiation skills? At this point, people divide into two camps. The first immediately launches into a debate about office supplies and consumables as if that is the scope of their third party spend. At this point, I withdraw from the conversation and seek an excuse for an early exit.

The second, and larger, group agrees completely but then starts giving me reasons as to why they are unable to achieve it. This is usually because service managers have the freedom to do as they want – it is their budget, they know best and to suggest otherwise is an insult to their professional integrity! My comments about inspired leadership and the need for strong financial management are timidly brushed aside on the grounds that the pervading management culture is about consensus and not providing sound and inspirational leadership.

Let’s be clear about what this approach means. Not confronting this silo mind set means more service reductions and sadly P45s for lots of good people. Is that what modern public services are about?

Comments...

The P45 solution is not all bad you know Ken, clear out the deadwood!! Your remark about the 'debate about office supplies and consumables' made me chuckle. Keep up the good work!
Jen W
02/02/2011 16:33

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