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

Smoke and Mirrors in Whitehall!

Jul 12, 2012

Recent Whitehall reporting has been focused on the departure of John Collington, the Government’s CPO, who according to the Cabinet Office spin doctors has been responsible for, amongst other things, reducing central government procurement spend from £51B to £45B. Quite how they know this is a puzzle for many reasons including the fragmented nature of central government procurement and the inability of many departments to compile accurate procurement data. The brilliant and incisive Peter Smith at Spend Matters regularly writes on central government procurement.

Also this week, we hear that central government is having a few problems with back office shared services. You can read the details here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmpubacc/463/46302.htm

The baseline is that the influential Public Accounts Committee has been informed that far from saving money from joining up their back office systems, most of the five departments that have signed up to a 2004 scheme have managed to lose money as costs have overrun by £500M. According to the report, the costs of IT have been a major factor here – well there is a surprise!!

Readers need to bear in mind that most central government departments, excluding the likes of MOD, DWP etc, are no larger than district councils, yet they struggle to manage project costs or report accurately on their procurement spend. However, their ability to create illusions does appear to be a strong point.

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