Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Lessons for procurement change from the Common Agricultural Policy Delivery Programme

The Public Accounts Committee has just released its report on The Common Agriculture Policy Delivery Programme which could be the basis of an episode of 'The Thick of It' on change management. Indeed The Times uses the wonderful headline: "Civil servants' row with Mr Fancy Pants costs millions".

The report is short so you can quickly read it but some salient points are:
  1. If you want a programme to be delivered successfully you need clarity, consistency and ownership of vision. Those supposedly driving this programme had competing objectives which hampered progress.
  2. Make sure those bringing about the change and the leadership of the organisation to be changed can work together. 
  3. Make sure the organisation is ready for the change. It appears the department concerned were neither ready nor adequately supported in the change.
  4. Make sure the approach is pragmatic. A digital solution was being pursued even though the users lacked the skills and even the required broadband coverage.
  5. Sometimes you need to go native. In this case the mistake was as basic as the change agent turning up in a very formalised setting dressed as if they could have been going to a beach party - the old saying 'clothes maketh the man' may sound trite but sometimes an unnecessary explicit culture clash can be perceived as arrogance and work against success.   
Let's remember that the failure in delivery cost money, £60m.

Are there any lessons for those seeking to bring about procurement change/improvement, yes, don't make the same mistakes!

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