Delivering record value for UK taxpayers

Crown Commercial Service has helped the public sector achieve record commercial benefits of £3.8 billion and respond to new challenges. Chief executive Simon Tse shares the lessons from the past year
Simon Tse. Photo by Simon Ridgway

Crown Commercial Service (CCS) published our accounts for 2022/23 in July. Although the last 12 months finally brought us into the post-pandemic era, legacy challenges remain as we continue to readjust to how we live and work. We have, indeed, faced other trying times during this period, witnessing the continued conflict in Ukraine, the sad passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the impact of price rises.

Throughout this time, public sector organisations have trusted CCS's commercial expertise to support their buying needs.

Wholesale energy cost increases are one of the major factors driving inflation, and costs to end users are continuing to see large increases. To help our customers manage their energy bills, we announced in March the award of our new and improved energy agreement, Supply of Energy 2. This agreement will become the biggest energy contract ever awarded in the public sector, expected to save central government and wider public sector organisations over £2 billion.

Once again, CCS has been entrusted with some incredibly high-profile humanitarian projects over the last 12 months, including arranging flights to Turkey from London for UK fire and rescue service colleagues, following the devastating earthquakes. And we’ve continued to assist our Home Office colleagues with their challenging crisis management requirements.

In September, our teams worked round the clock to help facilitate Operation London Bridge, the funeral plan for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, including sourcing 20,000 blankets and 150 wheelchairs at short notice for mourners waiting to view the Queen lying in state. Throughout this period, CCS was on standby supporting the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Gold Command with a range of commercial solutions.

Maximising commercial benefits

CCS continues to help more public sector customers by delivering £3.8 billion in commercial benefits. This includes £11.4 million in savings for 26 customers on mobile and data aggregations services, such as voice calls, connectivity and applications.

At a time of squeezed budgets, the savings and better terms we can offer through our agreements are invaluable.

This year we awarded 26 new agreements and, as we keep evolving and maturing our product portfolio, we continue to see growth in spend. Over £31 billion of public sector spend was channelled through CCS agreements in 2022/23. This represents an increase of £3.39 billion on the 2021/22 total.

Thanks to the continued trust our customers place in us, we are now in a strong position to invest in programmes and projects to help further develop commercial capability across the public sector. For example, last year we announced our commitment to invest £12 million in the NHS to enable Atamis, a common procurement platform across the health service.

I’m delighted to say that within the first year of the programme, significant benefits and efficiencies have already been realised, with further still expected as the platform is more widely rolled out. This includes the North West London Procurement Services, which provides a single shared service for nine NHS partner organisations. The switch to the Atamis system has helped them to identify £34 million of potential savings.

We’ve also invested a further £2 million in partnership with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in providing a commercial capability training programme to the Local Government sector.

These investments are a source of great pride for me and my colleagues. They perfectly demonstrate the important work we’ve carried out to enhance our relationships with customers to deliver better value for taxpayers.

Social, environmental and economic benefits from every pound spent

Our priority must always be on helping the UK public sector save money, but we’ve also continued to take action to ensure our commercial agreements help drive policy through procurement.

We’ve continued to tackle modern slavery and enable social value and sustainability through our agreements. Most of our frameworks now require suppliers to report on non-financial metrics including modern slavery, carbon net zero, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and prompt payments. We’re helping to level the playing field for SMEs by encouraging prompt payment practice.

We’ve also launched more Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) including our new Facilities Management and Workplace Services DPS in February. And good progress continues to be seen with our efforts to enable SMEs to participate in our commercial agreements, with £2.59 billion (14.4%) of central government spend directly with 1,541 SMEs. This represents an increase of £340 million in spend compared to 2021/22.

Finally, we’re continuing to help customers on their journey towards net zero. Over the last 12 months we’ve identified 36 commercial solutions in areas that can help accelerate the transition to net zero. In September, we launched our new carbon net zero grants and funding page on our website, bringing all open CNZ grants and funding opportunities from across the government into one place.

Looking to the future

Once again, we’ve been able to demonstrate how CCS can assist customers to deliver on their priorities, achieving record commercial benefits for the public sector. But we won’t stop here.  As we look ahead to the new financial year, we’re keenly aware of the challenges ahead of us.

The new Procurement Bill is currently making its way through Parliament. The new regulation will introduce significant changes to the way that public procurement is carried out in the UK, and we do not underestimate the impact that this will have on our operations.

Our Transforming Public Procurement project is working tirelessly to ensure that we’re prepared for this. We’re working closely in partnership with the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy team to ensure that we can provide guidance and support to our suppliers and customers ahead of the new regulations.

Procurement has a vital role to play in supporting and strengthening our country and our public sector. We have a clear vision for our future at CCS. Underpinning this vision is a strategy that puts public sector customers front and centre of everything we do. I’m confident that we’re ready to face the challenges that 2023/24 may bring, and that we’ll continue to bring power to our customer’s procurement.

Visit the interactive digital brochure for a full list of Crown Commercial Service commercial agreements and details of how to build policy considerations into your procurement.




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