Wednesday, 25 January 2017


With all the recent shenanigans about political hacking of e-mails and servers, and the recent introduction of the UK's rather strong surveillance law, it is possible to forget that commercial entities are also the subject of continual cyberattack.

News today is that the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia is reporting the re-emergence of a virus that caused massive problems at Saudi Aramco in 2012.  This created a large amount of damage, and the rest of the world paid more for its hard drives as a result (a spike in demand leading to a spike in prices).  For the first time that I know of a second country and oil company has been identified as suffering in that first attack, and that fits with what I have heard.

Meanwhile, ransomware is becoming more prevalent with even public authorities having to pay up to get their data back.

So, a reminder.  Back up your hard drives.  Do it now.  Go on.  Have a coffee and do a backup.  Then detach that backup from your system and do another.  You might thank me later.

Monday, 16 January 2017

CIPS Applying Public Sector Procurement Processes, Birmingham, 22 February 2017

My second CIPS open course of the year, will be the follow up to Introduction to Public Sector Procurement where we look in more detail at the procurement processes, and in particular the less common ones such as Competitive Dialogue, Innovation Partnership, and Dynamic Procurement Systems.

It is ideal to do as the second day of an introduction to Public Procurement, or to look at the less common processes.

Details are here.

Friday, 13 January 2017

CIPS Introduction to Public Sector Procurement, Birmingham, 21st February 2017

So the first of my CIPS open courses approaches at surprising speed, as 2017 rolls on.

So this is the course we have run in 2016, with the minor change of referring to the Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and European Single Procurement Document (ESPD Scotland) rather than PQQ.

Details are to be found here.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Deloitte and Prime Minister Theresa May

I spat my coffee out when I read that Deloitte decided not to bid for UK government contracts because PM May was angry with them about a leaked document concerning Brexit.

Note that this was a "voluntary" decision by Deloitte - see Guardian here. There was not official sanction for Deloitte for the link, and is in no way linked to Deloitte's performance on current contracts.  For Deloitte this is a commercial decision to appease a politician in the hopes of currying favour.

This is a very slippery slope.  If the public procurement process can be used by politicians to influence contract award, we are well on the way to corruption and influence peddling.  It may be "accepted practice" for businesses who have upset a minister to "voluntarily" suspend bidding.  This corrupts the fairness, openness and transparency required in public procurement.  If only friends of the government bid we are all losers.

I was pleased to see that Pedro Telles of the excellent  thinks the same (and said it much earlier than me).  And in the interests of political balance he also points out that Jeremy Corbyn's comments on using Public Procurement to influence the pay structure of suppliers is equally preposterous. and would break the WTO Public Procurement Agreement.

Again, it cannot be said enough: If politicians interfere in the public procurement process we are opening the door to corruption, and the losers will be the public.

This is not the same as saying that Public Procurement cannot be used as an instrument of policy - for example to promotes SMEs and apprenticeships.  But once politicians start saying who can and cannot win contracts we are in banana republic territory.