Browsing All Posts filed under »Guest Columnist«

Investigating Fraud Part 2 by Gary Sommerford

June 25, 2015 by


Editor’s Note: Today’s post is Gary Sommerford’s follow-up to his April 2015 post on the problem of fraud. Fraud costs businesses billions per year and as a threat must rank as one of the key risks to be managed.  If fraud is not tackled effectively, financial losses will occur, reputations will be damaged and stakeholder […]

Reflections Of A Newly Departed CPO by Alastair Merrill

April 29, 2015 by


How do you sum up five years and seven months?  It was July 2009 that I took up the post of the Scottish Government’s Procurement and Commercial Director.  And in February 2015, after fourteen years almost to the day as a civil servant in Scotland, I left Her Majesty’s employment to take up a post […]

Investigating Fraud by Gary Sommerford

April 15, 2015 by


Many businesses are the victims of fraud and a significant percentage will be procurement fraud. One can either deal with the matter discretely, which could result in the person who committed the fraud leaving the organisation, or one may consider that an investigation is required. This may be forced on the organisation if the person […]

Can Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMEs) and Public Sector Buyers Work Together to Promote UK Economic Growth? by David Shields

March 5, 2015 by


Even in the context of recession and budget cuts, in 2013 /14 UK Government total spending accounted for 43.8% of UK GDP (Source: HM Treasury PESA Table 4.1) with procurement expenditure being approximately a third of the total expenditure at £230bn.  According to figures from Department of Business Innovation and Skills, 99.9% of the estimated […]

Developing & Improving Procurement Capability through eCommerce A Paper by the Scottish Government’s Procurement & Commercial Directorate by Alastair Merrill

December 3, 2014 by


The effective use of technology is at the heart of procurement reform and the Scottish Government’s eCommerce Shared Service brings together all the steps involved in doing business with the public sector in Scotland.  It is a collaborative environment that promotes improved procurement capability, enables business to be conducted more simply, consistently and effectively and […]

Why companies don’t sign contracts by Tom Moore

October 29, 2014 by


It is surprising how often contracts between companies are not signed or executed properly. Case law is full of examples of disputes occurring between organisations who are both working to an unsigned contract. These usually centre on ‘contract by performance’ issues, i.e. there was a contract sort of agreed but it was never actually signed. […]

Is restricting competition in social care contracts a good idea? by Dr. Pedro Telles

September 12, 2014 by


Labour announced in The Guardian a few months ago the idea of reserving certain public contracts for third sector organisations under certain circumstances in its manifesto for the 2015 general election. The purpose appears to be sparing the third sector from all out competition for certain contracts for a maximum period of 3 years per […]

Why do Procurement think they are being Fair when they’re not? by Alec Erskine

September 9, 2014 by


Preparing a bid the other day, I was thinking about how our clients score bids in a competitive bidding situation.  In the UK, they often talk about a 50-50 technical and cost weighting.   Let’s look at this a bit more closely. What they actually do is mark the technical bid and give it a mark, […]

The Use of Mini-competitions to Drive Savings Within a Framework Arrangement by Alun Rafique

September 2, 2014 by


Based on my experience, many senior professionals in the public sector feel that mini-competitions in Frameworks are not used enough, resulting in “less than competitive” pricing compared to wider external markets.   This view has been supported by various reports over time, including a rather dated yet still relevant NAO_report.  The NAO study made the assertion […]

Analysis of SME tenders (Prologue) by Ceri Evans, Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies

July 18, 2014 by


Editor’s Note: Based on the tremendous response we received to Part 2 of the Analysis of SME tenders post by Ceri Evans, we are pleased to accommodate the requests we have received from our readers to share with you Part 1 (Prologue) below.   It has been a long-standing criticism of many SMEs that they […]