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

Three Cheers for Baron Sugar

Nov 25, 2011

Baron Sugar (or Sir Alan before his elevation) is certainly not everyone's cup of tea! However, one thing that most people will agree on is that he does understand business and how to create wealth. His foray into the land of public procurement yesterday in a House of Lords debate not only propelled procurement into the media spotlight but also allowed him to expose just how weak UK procurement policy has been over the last 30 years. His speech can be viewed here.

Baron Sugar makes the point that the annual public procurement spend is £238B per annum. Much of this does not represent value for money as a result of poor contracting and misplaced loyalties to big suppliers. The baseline is that many people currently in public sector procurement are simply not up to the job of handling this expenditure! This is underlined by the constant protestations that it is like this because of the EU public procurement directives - in other words "outside my control governor"!

Not so - the German and French governments don't just simply roll over when it comes to contract award and protecting their interests. Sugar makes the point that a lot more could have been done to fight our corner in the Bombardier case and save 1,400 jobs in Derby. Conversations in procurement exercises are now all centred on the likelihood of challenge - one organisation recently refused to issue an OJEU notice as some suppliers would not be ready to bid and "might challenge the process". My view is the government should start calling the bluff of litigious companies - see you in Court!

So well done Baron Sugar for highlighting some home truths.


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