News story

Government strengthens its commercial capability

More business leaders from the private sector have joined the Cabinet Office to support the government’s programme of commercial reform.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Ed Smith, the former Chief Operating Officer and Strategy Chair of PwC’s Global Assurance business, today (3 September) became the non-executive Chair of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS). Ed Smith has strong business background from over 30 years at PwC and his roles as a Non-Executive Director for the Department for Transport and as Deputy Chair of NHS England.

The new CCS has strengthened the government’s approach to how it buys good and services. It helps government to secure greater savings on common products and provides commercial expertise to support departments with complex commercial transactions.

The CCS has also appointed David Wakefield, an experienced chartered management accountant, to the role of Non-Executive Director chairing its Audit Committee.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

Our relentless programme of commercial reform saved taxpayers £5.4 billion last year alone against a 2009 to 2010 baseline – equivalent to nearly £850 for each working household across Britain. Through the Crown Commercial Service we are ensuring government acts as a smarter customer, using its buying power to ensure value for money for the taxpayer. We are also taking steps to improve commercial capability in the civil service, and these appointments will add to our successful efforts to drive down the cost of government.

Bill Crothers, who led the creation of the Crown Commercial Service, will become the Government Chief Commercial Officer. He will lead the wider programme of commercial reform across government, including:

  • strengthening commercial capability throughout the civil service
  • improving the management of complex contracts
  • ensuring that government acts as a responsible, intelligent and experienced client

Lawrence Christensen CBE has joined the Crown Representatives team. This is a network of experienced business leaders assigned to the biggest suppliers, to ensure government acts as a single customer and that contracts provide the best value for money. Lawrence Christensen has over 20 years of board level experience as a director of various FTSE 100 companies.

Bill Crothers, Government Chief Commercial Officer, said:

Attracting private sector experience of this calibre is vital in helping us not only to manage and negotiate with our biggest suppliers but also to continue to improve the commercial skills of the civil service. We have made improvements in contract management and upskilling across government though there is much more to do.

Learn more about what Crown Representatives do.

Published 3 September 2014