Cabinet Office embarks on £2.7bn replacement process for sourcing temporary staff

The Cabinet Office has kicked off a review to replace its controversial contract for sourcing temporary staff across government departments

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The Cabinet Office has kicked off a review to replace its controversial contract for sourcing temporary staff across government, and is considering a “G-Cloud-like” alternative in a deal that could be worth £2.7bn.

The existing Contingent Labour One (CL1) framework expires in June 2016. It is used to bring in workers for short-term needs, covering everything from clerical temps to interim CIOs. As part of that, services giant Capita was contracted in 2013 to manage sourcing higher value, more skilled requirements.

The arrangement has proved controversial, with a consortium of SMEs claiming to have lost millions of pounds in revenue as a result of the framework, and Capita accused of breaching the terms of its own contract. The small businesses affected have referred the deal to the Competition and Markets Authority.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) – the Whitehall procurement agency in the Cabinet Office – has now issued a notice outlining its plans to replace CL1. Among the options under consideration is a “G-Cloud-like solution”. G-Cloud is the popular and successful online catalogue introduced to buy cloud software and services across the public sector.

Other options under consideration include a continuation of the current way of working, with a “neutral vendor” responsible for managing all sourcing; as well as a managed service; a dynamic purchasing system; or a simple preferred supplier list.

Read more about Contingent Labour One

CCS draws criticism as NAO weighs in

"To be successful, the new contractual vehicle needs to be able to meet current and future challenges from our diverse customer base and particular requirements. There is a desire to understand how the market is evolving in terms of trends, emergence of new technologies and innovation with regards to commercial models and methodologies to deliver a fit-for-purpose contracting vehicle,” said the contract notice published by CCS.

“We are looking for input from the market to help shape our forward-looking vision so would be open to feedback proposing alternative approaches which expand or modify the projected scope.”

CCS has come under fire for giving too much influence to one large supplier in the current CL1 set-up, prompting the National Audit Office to consider examining the current deal.

The Cabinet Office is also setting up a £2bn agreement for buying consultancy services across government to replace the existing Consultancy One arrangement, which has also been drawn criticism from SME suppliers.

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