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New executive joins national agency to lead ongoing reforms

Published on: 19 Apr 2024

NHS Supply Chain has appointed a new chief commercial executive director to lead ongoing reforms to the agency as well as delivery of day-to-day commercial operations.

Richard Evans has joined the agency following a career in the private sector, most recently working with procurement and supply chain consultancy Proxima.

He will start in the role on 29 April and “will oversee the 500-strong commercial function of the organisation, with a focus on standardisation and simplification,” according to an NHSSC announcement.

NHSSC has gone through a major change to its operating model in the past two years, including incorporating services and staff previously provided by external management service providers.

That process has added 450 people to the agency and Mr Evans “will oversee the continued evolution of NHS Supply Chain’s operating practices to reduce complexity, grow capabilities and employ best practices across the commercial directorate”.

His appointment comes a year after his substantive predecessor, Andy McMinn, took up the role. Mr McMinn abruptly left the job after just four months last July. The precise reasons for his brief tenure remain unclear. The post has been filled by an interim since October 2023.

Mr Evans is also the third senior appointment to the organisation this year. He follows Patrick Butterworth, chief finance officer, and Alex Elberg, supply chain executive director, who were both appointed in early January.

The announcement of their appointments came the day before the National Audit Office published a critical report on the agency. It highlighted “gaps in [NHS] Supply Chain’s senior leadership team and an over-reliance on the chief executive officer”.

“Recruitment of senior staff is being slowed by time taken for the civil service approvals process and the addition of an extra layer of approval for high-cost posts created by its move to NHSE,” it added.

NHS England became NHSSC’s sole shareholder in 2021, taking on that responsibility from the Department of Health and Social Care.