Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has outlined plans to change the way government deals with its major suppliers.
Under the new arrangement departments will no longer be able to sign up to a series of different contracts with the same supplier without any central control or co-ordination. Crown Representatives will be appointed to ensure that government receives the best value for money.
The Crown Representatives group will also be responsible for developing "emerging players" to the market, ensuring best value through new competition for public contracts. Martin Bellamy, ICT and change director at the National Offender Management Service, and previously director of the G-Cloud programme at the Cabinet Office, has been named as one of the seven Crown Representatives.
The appointments follow the renegotiation of contracts with over 50 suppliers since July last year, which are estimated to have saved the government £800m.
Maude said: "Our priority is to make sure the taxpaying public gets the best possible deal - and one of the ways of doing this is to ensure we are really using the scale of government to push down prices. That is why any dealings with our big suppliers have to be co-ordinated and our approach has to be strategic - the new Crown Representatives will make sure this happens.
"The value of a single representative, acting on behalf of all departments, became apparent during the contract renegotiations. It brought benefits for both sides - bringing a complete picture of a supplier's portfolio of contracts to the discussions and able to identify opportunities for synergy and cost removal."
The Crown Representatives will:
- Maintain oversight of significant new contract awards to key suppliers, using their knowledge of a supplier's performance across its portfolio of contracts with central government to feed in, where appropriate, to the negotiation/procurement process involving these suppliers.
- Deliver the efficiency savings already agreed in Memoranda of Understanding with suppliers following the renegotiation of contracts, with the support of departments and their officials.
- Provide advice on existing key supplier contracts.
- Develop a comprehensive understanding of the pipeline of future government business that suppliers are potentially or actually bidding for across government.
- Contribute to the development of the "emerging players" to the government market, including UK, European and global suppliers.
- In conjunction with the Cabinet Office, departments and other Crown Representatives, contribute to the development of new pan-government sourcing strategies.
- Work closely with departments, contributing to the management and resolution of all significant contractual disputes between departments and suppliers on the programme.
Photo: Rex Features