Monday, 27 July 2020

More about current poor government procurement

Peter Smith over at badbuying.com is laying out some of the problems with the government's current approach to procurement.

Over at telles.eu Pedro Telles (always worth a read) is laying out some more.  He goes as far as to use the C-word; Corruption.  

This is not something we think about in the UK, but the whole of the EU (and current) UK procurement rules are based around trying to reduce the potential for corruption.  It is the elephant in the room.  The mechanisms chosen are competition and transparency - competition so that unless whole industries are colluding (and it does happen) we will get reasonable offers, and transparency so that everyone (suppliers and public alike) can see what is happening and complain if we see inappropriate behaviour.

Of course you can argue about how effective it is in practice, and whether there are other ways to avoid corruption, but that is the intention.

The Covid-19 pandemic has given an excuse (sometimes justified) to circumvent the usual processes. Sometimes this has happened even when existing frameworks could have been used.  It has become common to have very large direct awards without competition, and limited or no transparency at the time (or limited transparency at a later time when it is too late to do anything about it).

Now, there is a case that government is selecting good quality suppliers without having to go through red tape.  And that is usually the argument made - it is efficient.  Which may be true, but it is also the way you would choose to do things if you were wanting to corruptly appoint suppliers in return for backhanders or favours.  I'm not saying that is going on, I have no idea.  But the rules are there to try and reduce the potential for that sort of crime.

Criminals always seek to exploit difficult situations. We should be very careful, and recognise that the procurement regulations are not "bureaucracy" or "red tape" but a mechanism (however imperfect) for protecting the taxpayer.  That organisations such as The Taxpayer's Alliance are quiet about this, but not about wages for public servants, shows that they are not genuine about their purported purpose but are simply pushing a political agenda. (Which in itself would be fine if they were honest about it)

Friday, 17 July 2020

Bad Buying by Peter Smith



That's a book by Peter Smith, not examples of bad buying he has carried out!

 Not out till October, but it looks very interesting and I know I shall be first in line.  He promises it will cover Brandenburg airport in Berlin, which is one of my favourites (just because it is nice to have an example where we can compare with a British project that was mostly very successful - Heathrow Terminal 5).

In the meantime there is a website and Peter is promoting it on twitter at @gpetersmith.  
Peter is finding lots of things for the sequel in current government practices during the pandemic.

I only wish I had thought to write it first - but I am sure Peter will do a better job than I will.  
(I also expect lots of music tips)

Full disclosure - I've only ever met Peter once, when he asked me to write a brief article about tendering tips - which I never did! 

Thursday, 16 July 2020

IChemE - Restarting Supply Chains - 5th August 2020



Whatever we think about the current pandemic  - whether concerns are overblown, whether it will be over soon, or whether it is serious and we are stuck with it for months - it is clear that there has been major disruption to supply chains.   We can hope that everything will very quickly get back to normal - but there is an element of wishful thinking there.

You might think that this is a great chance to restructure your supply chains - or that things will quickly revert to exactly what they were before.

With IChemE we are running an online seminar that helps to cover all of these topics, and will help you to think through your options and choices.  And we hope to cover the possible disruptions caused by the UK leaving the EU REACH regime a bit too.

As with any disruption, you can wish and hope - or you can plan and organise.  We hope to help you with your planning.

There is a guest speaker that we are not quite able to announce - watch this space.

Full details and booking arrangements are here.

Friday, 26 June 2020

New dates for summer online courses

Somehow these online courses seem to be more fluid than face to face courses - partly because we don't have to book a venue.  And partly because we are all still working it all out.

Anyway, new dates for online courses;

EuroMaTech - Restarting your International Supply Chains - 22/23 July 2020
EuroMaTech - Advanced Purchasing Management - 26/27 July 2020

Both courses to be run on Dubai time.  Details on www.euromatech.com

Monday, 15 June 2020

CIPS Exam Preparation & Revision Tips - CIPS Yorkshire branch 26th June 2020

I've been invited to run an online seminar for CIPS students at lunchtime on Friday 26th June 2020 (12 till 1:30pm).  It is being organised by CIPS Yorkshire Branch (my home branch), but as far as I know is open to any and all CIPS members studying for exams.

I am running a number of exam training programmes at the moment for The Procurement Academy , so I recognise how worrying the prospect of exams can be - especially if you haven't had to sit one for a number of years.

I don't want to give away too much of what I am going to say (translation: I haven't written it yet) but one thing I will say is "Don't panic".  The stress of exams can turn your mind to jelly as we get a surge of adrenaline that triggers a fight or flight mode, and sometimes just paralyses you into inaction.

It's easy to say relax, but harder to do.  I know.  But breathing helps.  (oh, and revision too)

Booking for this free webinar is here.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Additional date for IChemE What every Engineer needs to know about Contracts 7/8 September 2020

Just finished running this course today, which was great fun apart from Microsoft deciding to install a new version of Windows10 this morning.  Every trainer's worst nightmare. Running around I got my third laptop (the second spare) to avoid installing the new system and get on with running the event.  Though I was a little flustered at the start...

Anyway, interest has been high enough that we have decided to run another session on 7/8 September rather than wait till November 23/24.  As long as interest is high enough we shall run both courses, so if you are interested you will have a choice of dates.  

The new date is not on the website yet, but I shall let you know when you can start booking.  

Thursday, 11 June 2020

EuroMaTech Restarting International Supply Chains - date change to 19/20 July 2020

Just to let you know that the date of this seminar has been moved because delegates have asked us to change the date to July.

The link on the EuroMaTech website still says Sunday 14th June, but on that day I shall instead be taking part in a webinar on Crisis Management with four of our other tutors.  I may have mentioned it before - we have just had the run through.  It is a free seminar and you can register here.