Government commercial chief Gareth Rhys Williams on boosting Whitehall procurement capability and binge watching The Thick of It

Written by Civil Service World on 29 December 2017 in Feature

With the end of 2017 fast approaching, we asked the UK's top civil servants to look back at the year, outline their goals for 2018 – and tell us what they cannot do Christmas without

What are you most proud of achieving in 2017?

Helping to improve the calibre of commercial resource available within departments. Having their commercial directorate fully staffed with qualified commercial people will really help permanent secretaries deliver their agenda at better value. I am also proud of the introduction of commercial benchmarking and the related masterclasses that we’ve run, which share the good practice that is being identified across departments.

What was your most difficult decision in 2017?

In my role, there are lots of difficult and challenging decisions to make and it would be indiscreet to discuss most of them. But among the more pleasantly difficult decisions was shortlisting the Civil Service Awards. I know this will sound cheesey, but there really were some fantastic entries that it was hard to choose between.

What are your organisation’s top priorities in the year ahead?

I want to continue to build on the great start we’ve made in recruiting the right people into senior roles. We have recruited over 110 senior commercial roles across government since April 2016, but still have more to do to build senior commercial capacity. Over the coming year, we’re moving beyond commercial teams in central government departments. We are looking to identify and improve the skills of contract managers who sit outside commercial teams but manage big or risky commercial contracts. We will also be supporting senior commercial staff in arm’s-length bodies. In both these areas, very substantial sums are spent or managed and doing it well will have a huge impact on the quality of services provided by government and the wider public services.

For you, no Christmas holiday is complete without…

The chance to read all the comments from commercial staff for the Civil Service People Survey. There’s always more to learn about how we can improve! That and watching the next series of The Thick of It.

Author Display Name
Civil Service World
Image description
Share this page
Editor's Pick
Promote as primary content
Not Promoted

Share this page

Further reading in our policy hubs


Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Contact the author

The contact details for the Civil Service World editorial team are available on our About Us page.

Related Articles

Related Sponsored Articles

A radical re-think for public sector transformation
2 November 2015

With the ‘low-hanging fruit’ exhausted, the public sector must approach new government saving...

Successful partnerships: working effectively with central government
26 August 2014

TCS is keen to contribute to the topic of successful partnerships between the public and private...