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DLUHC investment to boost commercial capability across the public sector

Alongside the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) are investing in a new contract management training programme to boost commercial capability across the UK public sector.

Close to 200 local government officers, whose responsibilities include managing contracts, will undergo the newly created Contract Management Pioneer Programme.

The new training programme will support the Government’s agenda to level up more deprived areas of the UK, ensuring that contracting authorities across the country are able to effectively manage the key stages of commercial delivery.

CCS is part-funding the training, as well as bringing expertise to the programme as the UK’s largest public procurement organisation, alongside DLUHC’s Local Government Commercial Team.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is also collaborating on the training scheme.

Six cohorts of local government officers with contract management responsibilities have started the training programme, with the first group having began their training in November 2021.

Training will be delivered through the Cabinet Office and the Government Commercial College.

Simon Tse, CEO of Crown Commercial Service said: “We are making this investment as part of the Government’s broader strategy to level up the country, boosting commercial capability and ensuring that local government has the tools and expertise it needs to get the best deal for the taxpayer.

“With the opportunities presented by public procurement reform on the horizon, we are determined to help our partners across the public sector to play their part in building back better.”

Olivia Cooper, Service Manager, Contract Management and Quality Assurance at Warwickshire County Council added: “Warwickshire County Council has been pleased to be part of the Pioneer Programme for the last six months. It combines knowledge and skills development through a structured learning programme with significant networking to drive the sharing of best practice and peer support.

“The stepped approach to learning has allowed us to roll training out to a number of colleagues at a level appropriate to their involvement with contract management, and we are also seeing a number of benefits from increased skills, knowledge, and peer support.”

Boosting the commercial capability of the public sector is at the heart of the Government’s National Procurement Policy Statement.

The statement requires all contracting authorities to consider whether they have the right policies and processes in place to manage the key stages of commercial delivery it sets out, where relevant to their procurement portfolio.

In 2020, the LGA identified 32 local authorities most in need of contract management learning and development support, including some that have faced challenges recently over their management of commercial affairs.

These authorities were offered the opportunity to apply for training that would inform and drive organisational change around contract management.

Identifying good practice, sharing evidence-led best practice, and embedding stronger behaviours for local authorities that manage contracts worth billions of pounds every year.

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