I wrote a short e-book that explains the principles of public procurement by using the hiring of a consultant as an example. The book will take less than an hour to read and yet it includes an explanation of the key steps in the process and has links to additional resources to help with writing your specification (get this wrong and the chances of things going wrong increases dramatically) and managing suppliers.Read More
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a small e-book about procurement in the public sector as a learning exercise. This is not learning how to write a book, but how to get a manuscript formatted as an e-book, with a cover, etc and uploaded to a platform for sale. It turns out that it is fairly easy to do but, like many things, the first time you do it takes a lot longer.Read More
Last week I gave a short presentation to the joing national conference of the Police Authority Treasurers Society and the Directors of Finance of police forces. I have helped the police in Lincolnshire and West Midlands with the procurement of strategic partnerships but this talk was not about those projects. Instead I was commissioned to talk about the pros and cons of having a strategic partnership. I hope I achieved that. One treasurer said to me afterwards that is was "as balanced an exposition of the issues of outsourcing" as he'd heard. I guess that means I did what was asked of me.
I've posted the slide presentation on Slideshare.net and they are embedded below. They give a flavour of what I spoke about but I like to think that you get more from a presentation when I'm presenting it than from looking at the slides in isolation. So if you want to know more about this subject please feel free to get in touch with me.
It is an old saying that if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves. Maybe, but one might say that being focused on details means that one misses the big picture. It seems to me that this is the effect of the government's transparency policy: by enabling anyone to see details of payments for £500 swamps them with masses of data but they aren't really holding anyone to account. Accountability, you see, requires explanation as well as information (just as accounting requires words as well as numbers). Knowing what £500 was spent on does not tell you whether it was spent on the right thing. As Carnegie and West put it: “a hospital that is well managed in financial terms cannot be presumed to be meeting a community’s needs for health care.”