Our top stories today:
UK’s Ongoing Public Procurement Focus
At the Intellect World Class Public Services conference in June, leaders in the UK government presented and announced strategies for public sector procurement covering areas like IT project management, improving the sourcing or competitive bid process, better engagement with small market suppliers, and an expanded look for digital/IT services from wider range of suppliers. The leaders also announced that there would be a new beta version of its “Contracts Finder” available this summer [Sidebar: According to the UK government, “Contracts Finder is one of a series of government measures aimed at making it easier for suppliers, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to find and apply for public sector contracts. It is the main source of government opportunities worth more than £10,000.”]. The government leaders at the conference also stressed that the government wanted more innovation from its suppliers and would be making better use of analyst information to check things like a supplier’s position in capital markets (This sounds like the UK is starting to increase its focus on non-price attributes, I wonder if they read our series on the topic earlier this year.)
John Collington, UK’s Chief Procurement Officer, said that there will be a strong push for competitive government sourcing projects to move from the current average of 400 days to 120 days, telling suppliers that “You need to become more aligned to government objectives and recognize that the government is procuring as a single customer.” Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude also announced that new project management guidelines designed to promote the delivery of more successful IT projects would be forthcoming this summer saying that “We will have something important to say soon about project management and civil service skills.”
These strategies build on an overall procurement strategy that the Cabinet claims to have delivered savings of £800m in the first 10 months of the “Coalition” government that began in 2010.
Two points on John Collington, the UK’s Chief Procurement Officer:
- Collington is part of our YouTube Procurement Hall of Fame for this clip.
- Also, Peter Smith editor/owner of UK-based edition of the Spend Matters blog is reporting that Collington is about to resign and return to the public sector. We’re not one to report on rumors, but Peter’s a long-standing pro in the London public procurement arena so I’d be very surprised to see him publish this news if he wasn’t 1000% sure. If this is true, we’ll offer our own commentary if/when an announcement is made – Stay tuned….
Update July 3, 2012: As reported above, John Collington has officially resigned effective July 31, 2012. Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement: “Under John’s leadership, Government has transformed the way it buys common goods and services, generating substantial savings for the taxpayer with around £1.7 billion saved in 2010/11 alone. Thanks to John’s work, Government now has a much sharper approach to procurement and a much tighter grip on this spending.”
Ex-“Chief Procurement Officer” Sentenced to Three Years for Procurement Fraud
Kristin Seimits, a former procurement executive for Milwaukee Area Technical College (“MATC”) was sentenced to three years in jail and an additional six years of probation for stealing more than $250,000 from the college during a fraud scheme that spanned six years. Seimits was also ordered to pay $377,640 in restitution and perform 250 hours of community service during her probation period
Seimits was the senior-most procurement professional at MATC, reporting to the VP of Finance. She had been placed on administrative leave last fall and ultimately charged with two felony counts of theft in February. Seimits pled guilty in May.
Investigators say Seimits’ hid personal purchases in 15 different MATC department budgets. Her illicit purchases included a car, a wedding trip, vacations, laptop computers, iPads, entertainment, home remodeling, home furnishings, groceries and athletic/sports items. By the time she was caught, her fraudulent spending was averaging $10,700 per month, according to an independent audit commissioned by the school.
Recommended reading: New readers interested in learning more about fraud should read our 2010 series on Procurement Fraud (start at the bottom of the page and work up).
Fuji Xerox Expands Paper Procurement CSR
Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd., the joint venture company of Xerox and Fuji Film, announced that it has expanded its scope on environmental, health, and safety requirements regarding paper procurement by adding new trading criteria for its paper suppliers. The key components of the enhanced criteria are:
Environmental conservation: Suppliers are required to comply with the laws and regulations of the relevant countries and regions of their operations and operate in consideration of the protection of valuable forests and forest ecosystems.
Rights of local residents: Suppliers are required to make sure that the rights of the local residents (such as subsistence rights and residency rights) are protected and engage in sufficient dialogs with the local residents when their operation has a potentially serious impact on the residents’ rights.
Corporate ethics: Suppliers are required to make sure that they are not infringing upon the human rights of workers, have customary involvement with fair trade practices, and have no association with anti-social forces or organizations.
New supplier requirements include:
- Paper must be sourced from forests under sustainable management.
- Spent paper and recycled pulp that the suppliers use as raw materials must have their origin of supply clarified.
- The safety of the chemical substances used must be ensured.
- Paper must be manufactured with a chlorine free process.
- Paper manufacturing plants must have an environmental management system.
US Senate Confirms Two Top Procurement Appointments
At the end of May, the US Senate confirmed Joseph Jordan as the administrator of the White House Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Jordan is expected to reduce federal spending, aggregate supplier contracts across the government, and improve compliance by developing policies to ensure that agencies use and manage contracts correctly. In the same Senate session, Frank Kendall III was confirmed as Defense undersecretary for acquisitions, logistics and technology. More on these appointments in a future CPO Rising article.