Big Category Management Roles – Crown Commercial Service Recruiting

The UK Government’s central procurement group, Crown Commercial Service has launched a major recruitment exercise to find four “Senior Commercial Specialists – Strategic Category Management”. In this case, the word “senior” really is justified. These are SCS2 roles, equivalent to the CPOs of the largest departments, and the package on offer is around £160,000 a year; very good for the public sector and not bad by private sector standards either.

The roles will report to the CEO of the Crown Commercial Services. That’s Malcolm Harrison at the moment, but we don’t know yet whether he will be staying or not beyond his six-month interim period, so the appointees might find a new boss in place depending how quickly they can start. The four individuals will sit on the CCS Board and will be responsible for a “super-category” each;

- People (Professional Services, Contract Labour)

- Technology (Hardware, Software, Network Services)

- Buildings (Facilities, Construction, Energy)

- Corporate Services (Fleet, Travel, Marketing and Communications, Office Solutions, Financial Services)

As the material says, “these roles will be accountable for end-to-end management of entire categories or multiple categories of expenditure across the whole of Central Government. They will be accountable for creation and delivery of multi-year savings strategies”.

Each of those groups has a spend well into the billions; in some of the sub-categories, you may well be the largest buyer in the UK of that particular item. So to be considered as a candidate, you need:

“Deep (10+ years) commercial experience, ideally but not necessarily in procurement, strategic sourcing, category and supply chain management”.

Interesting to see that “not necessarily in procurement” comment – it is not easy to see how you could have such deep category knowledge without being basically a “procurement person”, but I suppose someone for instance with a QS and construction management background who has been around the Property and FM world for years might not be primarily a “procurement person”. There is no mention of CIPS though, which will annoy some people, but equally there is no mention of a degree, MBA or anything like that.

Instead, you need “Up to date and deep leading edge market knowledge (Tech, Buildings, Corporate Solutions, People) – current and future markets and supply chains” which seems eminently reasonable, and “Gravitas and stature both as a leader and specialist, being credible at Board level and with Ministers”.

That last comment rings true; these will inevitably be both challenging “technical” procurement roles and also require political (with both a small and a large “p”) sensitivity and skill.  There are some other requirements, but the candidate pack documents, which you can read here, thankfully do not fall into the trap we often see of defining 73 different qualities, capabilities and skills – and is all the better for it. It’s pretty clear what is wanted: people with deep category sourcing knowledge and experience who can also hold their own in a challenging and senior stakeholder environment.

If you think you fit that, we’d suggest that these will be fascinating, if occasionally frustrating jobs. London or Liverpool are possible locations, and applications close on April 22nd. We understand that Odgers are also “head-hunting” for the roles.

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Voices (5)

  1. bitter and twisted:

    Whats the logic behind the super categories?

    1. Final Furlong:

      Look, they need to bring on board just four heavy-weights and they will make all the difference. They have put the salaries and grades at these levels to make sure that no internal candidates are considered. As you know, you have to leave the civil service and come back again to receive a massive hike in salary and grade. What’s the logic behind the super-categories? Someone, somewhere, presumably, has developed a blue-print. It’s likely to be a very small blue-print because it would need to fit on the back of a fag packet.

  2. Champion The Wonder Pony:

    Only two years ago the 4 “Super Category” leads were recruited at SCS1(only up to £117k, but still far from a bad salary), so why the need for an upgrade when £640k per annum can buy a lot of sourcing specialists or nurses, if we want to be provocative?

    Also, this is the second time in 8 months that these roles have been advertised ( so presumably the £160k didn’t attract the right quality of big hitter last time!

  3. Secret Squirrel:

    Jesus wept….

    So you now need an SCS2 to do what a Grade 6 was doing a few years back in GPS….all aboard the gravy train!

    1. Dan:

      Clearly the Grade 6’s they had weren’t commercial enough. That appears to be the only real requirement to join CCS these days.

      I would love to be a fly on the wall the first time they have the procurement regulations described to them.

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