Friday, 26 April 2013

Time to celebrate excellence in procurement

I'm as guilty as the next person of highlighting the omnishambles we frequently see in public procurement. That unfortunately feeds the lie which says incompetence reigns. But last night's GO Awards was the antidote - there we celebrated excellence. We also celebrated impact, innovation and the ability to implement effective change. Yes, example after example after example of excellence in procurement regardless of which sector you come from.

We celebrated the work of the NHS Blood and Transplant collaboration who conceived and put in place a collaboration across Europe between disperate organisations. Standardising specifications, standardising blood collection, sharing inventory, reducing bureaucracy, sharing resources, and, yes, saving doshFrom a personal point of view it was great to see my old classmate Eugene Cooke up there on the platform - I'm sure our MSc lecturer would have been proud of seeing the theory being stretched and applied.

But you don't have to be big to be great as Fabrick Housing demonstrated. if the team were any smaller they couldn't even fit the traditional definition of team. Yet, from a standing start they had reduced the supplier base by 8%, reduced the number of non-contract suppliers to 39% (that was an improvement of 25%), reduced the number of invoices by 21% while increasing the average invoice value by 33% and the average spend per supplier by 65%.To me this was exemplary - a vision, a passion, a plan and delivery.

Of course one of the things which makes public procurement different is that it makes a difference to people's lives. I don't think anyone in the room wouldn't have been moved by the two young people who joined the acceptance speech of the Children's Commissioning Care Consortium Cymru. Two people who's lives had been changed through excellence in procurement - that's some testimony for procurement.

But there was something else worth celebrating last night - public procurement professionals can enjoy themselves. They were helped by the comedian Rod Woodward. I particularly liked his story about the concerns in his Welsh Village when the film 'Babe' was released - I'll not spoil the joke for you when you hear it on the tele but the gist of it was 'naming and shaming'.

Naming and shaming was not what the GO Awards were about - they were about naming and proclaiming excellence in public procurement. That's something worth celebrating.

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