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

Time to rethink Supplier Evaluation

Aug 30, 2012

Three sets of accounts, copies of their equalities and environmental policies, all the boxes are ticked so onwards to the ITT and contract award. This process or many variants of it have been going for years in the public sector. All good stuff to keep one’s back covered if things should go pear shaped, and all totally wrong! Southern Cross, Connaught, and now Mouchel, to name but a few, make unpleasant reading for the box tickers.

Backward looking supplier evaluation has long since been dead in the water. Apart from satisfying a few CSR zealots, it tells you absolutely nothing about the future! And as contracts get longer 7, 10, 15+ years the future is where the action will be. We have been arguing that company ownership, direction, and strategy are where the real evaluation processes should start. The failure of Mouchel and others was not something that could be foreseen simply by looking at the company’s annual report and accounts. It was about ownership, strategy and decisions taken in corporate offices, things that often never get reported apart from the occasional note in the Financial Times.

The Guardian has picked up on this today with an excellent article entitled ‘Mouchel bankruptcy shouldn't be 'business as usual' for public bodies’ – read it here. The banks have stepped in to save the day - so that has to be ok then? Remember these are the same banks that nearly bankrupted the whole global economy in 2008. Well the leader of Bournemouth Council, John Beesley, thinks it is all fine now as no doubt lots of other people relying on three sets of accounts to safeguard future do too.

I think it is time for a rethink on supplier evaluation, but who is going to lead the revolution?

 

Comments...

Spot on, Ken!
Christine Morton
04/09/2012 14:36

Very true Ken. Mouchel Business Services contracts don't look too good. I see Lincolnshire are re-tendering, Milton Keynes are bringing services back in-house and Rochdale has transferred to Agilisys. That only leaves four. Fortunately their Highways business looks strong.
Neville Merritt
04/09/2012 14:30

Partner Manager at ABS

Even if someone does lead the "supplier evaluation revolution", there is the danger they will be squashed - remember the Stephen Parker story last year? http://bit.ly/NG1tmq
Neville Merritt
04/09/2012 11:43

Have Your Say...