CCRs – a new chapter in Government procurement?

The appointment of the Government Crown Commercial Representatives last week (featured here) drew some interesting comments. Barry Henniker said:

"The disappointing aspect of this move is the underlying assumption that these seven “lucky” people can simply and seamlessly tack that role on to the “day job"".

Is it a role that can be performed part-time?  Rob added to the debate.

I was aware of a commercial team within a major government Department where the Commercial Director gave SRM to one of his senior team to shape and deliver. After three months, nothing had happened – they were too busy with the day job. Needless to say, they were heavily criticised in their Procurement Capability Review.

And how much real authority will they have; what if their view is different to that of the Department who are spending the money? Performance is another issue. Barry also asked:

Furthermore the only hint of performance metrics attaced to the new these roles is in policing the delivery of savings already identified – not a taxing task I would not have thought?

One other thought.  When these roles were announced, a 'Cabinet Office source' told me that they were recruiting externally (as well as internally) for these positions. But other than Stephen Allott, the CCR for SMEs who was appointed some time ago, the appointments are all existing civil servants.

Disappointing? A chance missed to bring in new blood and private sector best practice? The PM has been critical of public procurement staff,  yet when there is a real chance to bring in some fresh faces, that chance appears to have been passed up. Or maybe there just weren't credible external applicants given that the opportunities weren't exactly promoted widely.

Anyway, we're keeping an open mind - it's clear there is potential to manage major suppliers to Government in a more joined-up manner, so we'll see what real outcomes emerge. We're also hoping to interview a CCR shortly and get the insider view on how it will all work.

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