Commonwealth Games seeks 'rare breed' of buyer

3 November 2011

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3 November 2011 | Adam Leach

Buyers for the 2014 Commonwealth Games will need to be able to sign a £150,000 design contract one week and a £20 million construction deal the next, its procurement chief has told SM.

With 993 days to go until the event in Glasgow, preparations are on schedule and under budget. So far, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is 63 per cent complete, the domestic broadcasting contract has been awarded to the BBC and 105 out of 134 contracts have been won by local businesses. But in order for the games to be delivered on time, the procurement team needs to be staffed with individuals who possess commercial and regulatory expertise in equal measure.

Head of procurement David Brown, told SM: “We’re looking for people that very rarely exist in the marketplace, typically you get people from a commercially driven organisation or a regulatory driven organisation and they tend to have different skills and attributes. We need a combination of them both and it can’t be a compromise.”

Brown and his procurement team of five, which will increase to 15 over the next 12-18 months, will have to balance the need to provide value for money to the taxpayer, negotiate a range of commercial deals with sponsors and ensure that sporting equipment, construction and accommodation is delivered on time.

In order to do this, Brown needs procurement professionals that can turn their hand to whatever is required. “We need people who can do a creative design contract for £150,000 one week and a £20 million deal the next on something construction related.”

Speaking at an event hosted by CIPS and the Institute of Directors last month, Gerry Walsh, procurement director at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games explained that recruiting his procurement team had presented some unique challenges because “the one thing you’re absolutely guaranteed of is being made redundant”.

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