Water firm boosts purchasing remit

4 August 2004
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05 August 2004 | David Arminas

Southern Water has given its procurement team responsibility for the utilities firm's capital works projects, which are worth £2.1 billion.

Gary Caswell, the new procurement director who previously ran his own consultancy, Bretton Consulting, called the Southern Water job "the biggest mandate in my career. It's a fast-track change programme with procurement right at the centre of corporate strategy."

Caswell works beside a newly promoted asset director, Martin Baggs, who was previously operations director.

"We now report to the managing director and we are on the management team that directly runs the company," he said.

Before, procurement reported to the finance department.

Caswell will be responsible for projects such as buildings, water pipes and sewage works.

"Historically, there has been a technical project delivery team with responsibility for design, development and award of the construction contracts," he said.

"It managed them and reported directly to the project delivery director. The new set-up is a major structural change."

The five-year capital construction plan is on top of purchasing's normal indirect and operational expenditure, worth another £200 million.

Caswell's consultancy work included contracts with Britannic Life Assurance, Diageo and the Metropolitan Police.

Feature: A force for purchasing

SMaug2004

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