Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Autumn public sector procurement courses

My colleagues at BIP Solutions are arranging a good range of courses for autumn 2015.  I dont want to pre-empt them, though so have a look at their website.  They will be keeping me pretty busy at the back end of the year.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Cabinet Office new faces - a correction

Apologies for getting it wrong in the earlier post - Oliver Letwin is taking overall responsibility for the Cabinet Office, but the Paymaster General will be Matthew Hancock.  I have edited the previous post to take account of this - you can see the original text score through.

Some of my comment remain the same - it is an important role - and some changes. 

One of the comments I made I now have to backtrack on, and will worry about.  Mr Hancock is clearly young and ambitious.  He has experience on the Public Account Committee, and been Minister of State for Business and Enterprise.  These should stand him in good stead overseeing public procurement.  But will he see this as a stepping stone to greater roles, rather than an important role in its own right (as Francis Maude clearly did)?  How he sees the role will have an impact on how he carries it out.  It is only natural that if he is focused on promotion he will look for opportunities to demonstrate that he should be promoted - that may lead to shorter term, riskier and more "flashy" initiatives which make a splash rather than longer term structural change which tends to be slow, undramatic and often underappreciated.

There will also inevitably be jokes about "Hancock's half hour", which will go over the head of anyone younger than 50 and make those of us above that think wistfully of "the lad himself".

Good luck to all of them.

New faces at the Cabinet Office

So we now know that Francis Maude has been followed by Oliver Letwin, a recognisable name
if not one from the recent front pages. the Rt. Hon Matthew Hancock as Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which will be overseen by Oliver Letwin.   I hardly expected George Osborne to decide he preferred the Cabinet Office to the Treasury.

Of course we have to wait to see Mr. Letwin's Mr. Hancock's priorities, but we do know from his past that he is keen to reduce bureaucracy and to drive down prices.  To be fair, I don't know of anyone who is in favour of the opposite.  He is reported to have said that suppliers need to feel a bit of fear in order for the public sector to get value and innovation: that sounds like a soundbite, and the interesting thing is what it would mean in practice.  The Public Contract Regulations 2015 are still bedding in, and the Cabinet Office will play a big role in how they are interpreted in the UK.

A potentially positive thing is that Mr. Letwin has been around the block a few times, and so should know how Whitehall operates, and hopefully will see this as a real and important role rather than a stepping stone to roles.

So, welcome and good luck.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Election Day

Not a party political comment, but I hope you vote.  It makes a difference.  This time more than most.