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IT procurement lead Sarah Hurrell to leave Crown Commercial Service

Government purchasing agency’s commercial director for technology will depart to take up a job in the private sector

Sarah Hurrell, the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) commercial director for technology, will soon leave her government role, Computer Weekly has learned.

Hurrell, who joined the civil service in 2013 at CCS’s predecessor, the Government Procurement Service, will leave her job by the end of January to join software supplier Sage, Computer Weekly understands.

At Sage, she will take up the role of vice-president of IT transformation, joining ex-Cabinet Office chief operating officer Stephen Kelly, who left to join Sage as its CEO in 2014.

During her time at CCS, which was launched in April 2014, Hurrell has helped save the government £5.9bn a year. But despite this success, the procurement agency has been far from popular.

CCS has been critisised by suppliers for being dysfunctional and accused of undermining plans to buy more from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In an interview with Computer Weekly last year, Hurrell said some of these criticisms might have held true for the previous organisation, but said that in 2014, her team increased savings by 70% compared with the previous year.

“People still think we’re doing things wrong, rather than noticing what we’re doing right,” she said. “It’s a culture change for CCS, so it’s down to us to tell people what we are doing right.”

At CCS, Hurrell’s main focus has been to simplify technology purchasing frameworks, making them easier for government to use and simpler for SMEs to win contracts.

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Although Whitehall departments do not have to procure through CCS, it is the organisation’s job to help buyers change their behaviour.

“If a customer wants a 20-year agreement with a systems integrator, we can advise [that it’s not] best practice, but if they get it through spend controls, then that’s their choice,” Hurrell told Computer Weekly last year.  

Hurrell and her team have been also been responsible for software licensing deals, which saved £85m in 2014/15 through auditing departmental estates.

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