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Better judgement

I am a judge. Not in a court of law, but in a rather special company award scheme. For the last 23 years, I have been one of three judges for Mark in Action, an award scheme operated by Unipart Group to recognise outstanding customer service by its employees. Through this role I get to see from the inside the dramatic difference one company’s culture can make to the performance of a contract. I can testify to the truth of Unipart’s claim that ‘the result is a culture where a can-do attitude and a will-do commitment are infectious’. Unipart’s success in creating this ‘can-do’ culture has resulted in it securing major contracts from the NHS and other parts of the public sector. Here is a three minute clip from a Mark in Action award ceremony describing what Tom Fee of Unipart did to enable one ward of a Coventry Hospital to serve its patients better. This award represented a very positive verdict on a private sector company’s contribution to the NHS. Contrast this with some other recent judgements on the conduct of government procurement. The UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) expressed concern in November that New contracts worth £17.3 billion were awarded to suppliers, of which: £10.5 billion were awarded directly without a competitive tender A  cross-government PPE team established a high priority lane to process potential bids to supply personal protective Equipment which was urgently needed during the pandemic.  PPE leads referred by government officials, ministers’ offices, MPs and members of the House of Lords proved to be ten times more likely to get government business than ones without this privileged status. Contracts awarded not on the basis of a company’s culture, but who they knew. Read the rest here.


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