Face-saving is of course required and it was probably easier for Gove to draw a line under this than his predecessor, but let's pick up a few lessons:
- Pick your fights carefully - the legal profession is an oligopoly who understand the law, relative power and dependency. Without a means of redressing that imbalance, failure could be predicted;
- If you are going to consult with the market, listen. While there were great promises of consulting with the legal profession, the failure to take on board the messages of the market did not appear to be listened to. Making a sham of market consultation ultimately reduces confidence and trust in the process;
- 'Cutting and pasting' one type of sourcing strategy to another category is just stupid - larger contracts and a lowest price pursuit may make sense in some situations but definitely not all;
- Procurement risk assessments are important - it would be great to hear how the MoJ identified and planned to mitigate all the risks associated with this procurement strategy and how political and reputational risk were being mitigated?
It would be really interesting to carry out an impact assessment of the UK government procurement strategy over the last 10 years, say, and establish which worked and why; having said that, it may well be that is a comparatively short list compared to those which didn't work.