The summer heatwave prompted a call for public procurement rules to be changed © PA Images
The summer heatwave prompted a call for public procurement rules to be changed © PA Images

News review of 2018 part two

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
31 December 2018

As the year draws to an end we take a look back at the SM stories that made an impact in 2018.


The NHS proved a highly popular topic in 2018. A report by MPs said a contract to outsource back office support services to Capita was a “shambles”, with NHS England in a “short-sighted rush” to cut running costs by 35%.

The summer heatwave prompted recommendations that public procurement rules should be changed so money is not spent on infrastructure that is not heat resilient.

An oversupply of apples led Heineken to not renew contracts with suppliers of cider apples. The brewer said long-term 20-year contracts with growers may no longer be fit for purpose.


World-class procurement teams will require almost 30% fewer employees than their less successful peers, a consultancy firm claimed.

Woeful conditions at Birmingham Prison, including cockroaches, rat dropping and bloodstains, were blamed on an abject failure of contract management.

Amazon Business made its first major inroad into the UK public sector with a £600m deal with buying consortium YPO.


Amid sweeping changes to NHS procurement, DHL Supply Chain failed in its legal challenge to the decision to award a £730m logistics contract to Unipart. DHL had claimed Unipart was not scored correctly on its ability to deliver in the evaluation process.

Public services across the capital were collaborating to improve responsible procurement. Greater London Authority bodies including Transport for London and police, fire and ambulance services worked together to increase social benefits from their spend.

The winners were announced in the CIPS Supply Management Awards 2018, in which Northumberland Water triumphed.


A former CPO at BP outlined his vision for the future of procurement, and it revolves around smaller teams of more senior people, technology-led purchasing systems and independent data teams.

Bombardier described how it had combined its procurement and supply chain teams in a new way of working that had allowed it to cut inventory and enable potential savings of 20%.

The chief executive of NHS Supply Chain gave SM readers an insight into the changes taking place in NHS procurement, and how waste contracts could be centralised to avoid the scandal where 350 tonnes of clinical waste were allowed to build up at one site.


Higher-than-expected demand in the US for a bleeding vegan burger led to a supply shortage that delayed its arrival in Tesco stores.

Four CPOs gave up the secrets of their success to delegates at the CIPS Annual Conference, and we learned how to lead and get your work/life balance right.

A former buyer at Tesla was charged in connection with a $9.3m con that saw supplier payments diverted from one company to another.


John Manzoni, permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office, played down comparisons between key government supplier Interserve’s financial problems and the collapse of Carillion.

Almost half of buyers are investing in technology due to FOMO rather than a proper understanding of digital requirements, a survey found.

General Sir Nick Carter told MPs Capita had been overambitious when it bid for the MoD’s recruitment contract, which has failed to meet targets, and “appalling lessons” had been learned from the deal.

Read part one of the news review.

 Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.

Hybrid of home and office/site based approx. 1 day per week.
Up to £40,000
Essex Cares
Rotherham, South Yorkshire
CIPS Knowledge
Find out more with CIPS Knowledge:
  • best practice insights
  • guidance
  • tools and templates