Government Commercial Function
The Civil Service is one of the biggest and most complex employers in the UK, employing over 400,000 Civil Servants serving both Ministers and the public to deliver the priorities of the Government of the day. These include major projects with a lifecycle cost of around £500bn, as well as programmes and services that affect everyone in the United Kingdom. The annual spend is c. £49bn per annum with a range of suppliers including SMEs.
Following issues with some major contracts and key suppliers, the Civil Service has committed itself to dramatically improving its commercial performance. This has included establishing a Commercial Function that will operate with, and in support of, departments. A senior Government Chief Commercial Officer was appointed from the private sector to head up the Commercial Function. This is also aligned with the first set of Commercial Standards published for Government in February 2016, updated in November 2016 which we now benchmark against.
Commercial resources overseen by the function number some 4000 staff across Whitehall, and consist of:
- A number of core interlocking central teams working together on Policy, Standards and Continuous Improvement, Complex Transactions, Markets and Suppliers (that will build pan-Government relationships with key suppliers) and Commercial Capability
- Colleagues in the Commercial Directorates within Departments and Agencies, and
- The Crown Commercial Service, a trading fund sourcing common goods and services for the Civil Service and the wider public sector, managing spend of circa £13bn
Colleagues who work under the Government Commercial Organisation Terms and Conditions are embedded within many teams across the Civil Service, including GPA. At present, GPA has 10 such colleagues, including property professionals and procurement specialists.
The Commercial Function is led by Gareth Rhys Williams, the Government Chief Commercial Officer (GCCO). He reports directly to the Chief Executive of the Civil Service, John Manzoni.