Get to know Ken Cole - Talent Bank Associate

Effective contract management and procurement helps councils to deliver their important services efficiently. Here, industry expert and Talent Bank Associate, Ken Cole, explains how he can help your authority.


Tell us about yourself and your specialism:

I am one of the UK’s acknowledged experts on contract management & procurement, being a fellow of both World Commerce & Contracting and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. I have a 40+ year track record in these disciplines, holding senior appointments in both the public & private sectors.

I now provide hands-on support, advice and coaching for tomorrow’s leaders and influencers in my areas of specialism. It is important for me to give back to the sector, particularly by way of offering new insights and ideas as well as reliable sources of knowledge and information. I have many years’ experience as a presenter and in public speaking. I have presented programmes across the region and beyond for over 20 years with my contract management programme being a favourite.

Recently, I have turned my attention to developing diagnostics which have been used to underpin the LGA’s National Procurement Strategy (of which I am a shared author), contract management, self-assessment and very recently responsible procurement.

Tell us what you can provide potential clients as an associate on EELGA’s Talent Bank:  

English local government spends over £50 BILLION a year in third party services, projects and goods with at least twice that number committed through signed multi-year contracts. I have direct and proven experience and knowledge of the whole commercial cycle. This starts with the development of a requirement (often called commissioning), the sourcing, market engagement and contracting (often called procurement) to the letting, management and discharge of the contract. Having visibility and understanding of this whole cycle is crucial. Unfortunately, many councils struggle with this as it is a cross cutting activity being undertaken in a largely verticalised structure (departments).

I can provide impartial knowledge and expertise that gives end-to-end support, which will help reduce risks and ensure that contracts can be future proofed to avoid many problems that are occurring today. I can also provide many tips, insights and ideas to support contract renegotiations, including requests for cost uplifts.

Tell us about any significant challenges relating to your specialism and how you can overcome them:

The major challenge facing local councils today is dealing with inflation and global shortages, and the impact this is having on contracts and the ability to deliver agreed service outcomes. This is against a background of shrinking budgets and talent shortages. The latter is a major problem, as top quality contract managers and chief procurement officers are scarce and attract high levels of remuneration. I can provide the necessary coaching and skills programmes to help councils develop and grow their own talent internally. There are lots of potential sources of help, support and information, many of which can be accessed for little or no cost. My job is to support local councils and provide strong support and expertise at a very affordable level tailored to support their goals, priorities and timescales.


If you are interested in support from Ken Cole, register an interest on his Talent Bank profile.