Days like this that are away from the usual routine may seem a luxury, but they’re essential to progressing professional development. They are a chance to step back from day-to-day work and do what we here at Supply Management get to do every day – find out what’s going on in the wider profession.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions. The CIPS Conference 2011 is not just about passively taking on board new messages or reaffirming existing ones – you will have a range of experts at your disposal who you should make the most of. Not only will the chair of the event be delighted to have some queries to field that are not their own (I speak from experience having chaired a conference for SME suppliers last week), but not doing so could be a missed opportunity.
The government’s first CPO John Collington, who is ex-Home Office and Accenture, will deliver the morning keynote. He has the tricky job of transforming the way government and its departments purchase, balancing the twin goals of aggregation and increasing the number of contracts won by SMEs. And group procurement director at Royal Mail, Kath Harmeston, will present the afternoon plenary. With the postal group preparing for privatisation, Harmeston and her team are working to deliver a leaner cost base, generate capital and modernise operations.
CIPS professional of year Sarah Ellis from BAA will sit on the panel debate and 2010 professional of the year, Ian Bolger from Thames Water, who has recently overseen a massive outsourcing deal with Efficio, will run one of the afternoon workshops. Legal advisers Sam De Silva and Belinda Doshi will be on hand with advice and Adrian Turner, European head of corporate procurement at Apple will also present.