Haringey gives top job to purchaser

8 January 2003
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08 January 2003 | David Arminas

Michael Wood has been appointed head of corporate procurement at the London Borough of Haringey.

Wood, who moves from Norfolk County Council where he has been head of procurement for the past three years, takes over the controversial Haringey post on 2 February.

Haringey hit the headlines in August when its advertisement for the £70,000 job noted that applicants "don't need to have worked directly in procurement before" (see News, 7 August and Viewpoint, 21 August).

At the time, Sally Brooks, Haringey's previous head of strategic procurement and a trained architect, told SM: "You need strategic planning, risk management and change management skills. Frankly you can pick up procurement. It is not a hugely complex area, especially if you have a good team."

Although Wood has direct procurement experience, he agreed with Brooks, who is now at the Department for Education and Skills handling a £6 billion budget for schools construction in England and Wales.

He said: "I don't think that direct experience is an absolute requirement. A good management background is sufficient for a lot of jobs of this nature."

Wood said he will focus on customer needs and the authority's objectives.

At Norfolk, he was responsible for a £450 million budget. Although the annual budget at Haringey is around £250 million, the job is a step up. In addition, Haringey operates in a more diverse culture than Norfolk.

Wood's team at the eastern council recently won a Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government award for outstanding achievement in procurement in the county council sector.

He joined Norfolk 10 years ago as head of quality, moving from BT, where he was head of IT services.

Wood, who is a member of CIPS, said that belonging to the institute was "not an absolute criteria" for the job.

"But membership of CIPS gives a dimension to the job through some of the seminars, training facilities, communications and access to resources, which makes a procurement job easier. CIPS is a very good supporting organisation."

Colin Bottjer, purchasing manager at Norfolk, is acting as head of procurement until a new one is appointed.


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