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Q&A with Craig Lardner – Past President, Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS)

Wednesday January 28th, 2015

As anticipation grows for the forthcoming Procurex Wales Live 2015 conference, which takes place in Cardiff on 18 March 2015, we caught up with Craig Lardner, past President of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS). Craig is one of the keynote speakers at the conference and, having worked in the private sector for over 35 years, he is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts on state and federal procurement, purchasing for both the private and public sectors.

Craig Lardner

Craig Lardner

We talk to Craig about the biggest challenges facing Welsh procurement and find out more about what delegates attending any of his three training sessions at Procurex Wales Live 2015 can expect to take away.

1)    What are the biggest challenges facing the Welsh public sector procurement community right now?
The Welsh Government has performed a rare feat and an even rarer set of achievements in its procurement transformation journey.

There is nothing new or rare about hearing about a public sector entity that has begun the process and the journey to procurement transformation, but there are very few public sector entities that have shown the consistency, resilience and stamina to keep the journey going and stay true to the original speech and original promises of a better world. The Welsh Government and its procurement team have achieved this rare feat. They have had nine years [by my count] of the one transformation process.

Of course it has been tailored and customised over time, but the epicentre of the Welsh Government’s vision of the future has gone on unaltered.  It has survived the twists and turns of political changes and the personalities and flavours that come and go each year. They have stayed true to their original course and mission. This is a credit to the functional leadership, the team they manage and to the political leaders, both those who gave them the green light in the first place, and the current political leaders who are keeping the light green.

Their biggest challenge is to ensure this consistency of purpose is protected and that everything that has underpinned their steady progress to date is maintained and remains effective. Perhaps the demon to be watchful for is the demon of ‘complacency’, as it is possible to forget that, if you take your foot off the pedal, progress will not be maintained.

2)    What changes would you like to see in Welsh public sector procurement moving forward?
Perhaps it’s not so much ‘changes’ but more like acceleration and delivery…the more, the better. I would also like to see some creativity on what could be done that’s new and different, not to deviate from the central procurement strategy, but rather, to enhance it, even possibly trying unproven initiatives, be they organisational or technical procurement elements. They don’t have to be big; they just have to be adventurous and innovative.

3)    What can attendees of Procurex Wales Live expect to learn from your session?
I am involved in three sessions: a keynote…a breakout group…and a panel session. Nice mix!
Needless to say the topics are very different.

1-The keynote will pose the question [and, hopefully, answer it] … are we getting all the value for Wales that our best procurement efforts can muster? Value has been redefined so our audience will get to self-evaluate how much of the new value definition is in their procurement efforts.

2-The breakout group topic is to look at the three best procurement lessons I have ever seen. This can help those who feel they have a mountain to climb and are not too sure where to start. It will also appeal to those who feel they have done it all [or most of it] in the procurement space. It will be a good thought provoker and a healthy reminder that there is always more to do.
There are three special lessons. And when you understand them, they naturally become the three great mistakes not to make.

3-The panel session will be whatever the audience want it to be. It’s always a good challenge to have to deal with questions or concerns from the floor. Invariably, one person’s enquiry is someone else’s as well. With four very experienced panellists, I expect we can help our procurement practitioners beat down a few demons in this session.

To find out more about Procurex Wales Live 2015, which is free for public sector personnel to attend, please visit

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