What we do
The Government Commercial Function (GCF) is a cross-government network consisting of:
- around 4,000 civil servants procuring, or supporting the procurement of, goods and services for government
- commercial experts who support departments in managing important commercial contracts and planning for future commercial needs
We aim to improve the commercial capabilities of the Civil Service. This will make significant savings for the taxpayer and deliver improved public services.
We support the network to develop the knowledge and skills needed to compete successfully in commercial environments on behalf of government.
Who we are
The GCF is one of the Civil Service Functions. It is made up of commercial professionals supported by colleagues from a variety of disciplines.
The commercial directors and their directorates work on an agenda set by their department, supported by a number of central teams. Their activities are co-ordinated by the Government Chief Commercial Officer.
The central teams offer specialist support for departments:
Complex Transactions supports departments with complex procurements, negotiations with suppliers and on all cross-government disputes.
Markets and Suppliers provide supplier, market and sector intelligence to departments.
Commercial Continuous Improvements offers guidance, support, standards and controls on good commercial practice.
Commercial Capability is a programme set up to develop the commercial capability of colleagues across government
How we are changing
Commercial activities are a priority for government. Here’s why:
- government spends £49 billion every year on contracts for vital goods and services
- it is important that government sources the right suppliers to meet those needs
- it is also important to continue to manage those contracts well
To achieve this means having a world class commercial function.
The GCF is recruiting skilled and effective commercial staff who can deliver this. See people standards for the profession.
We are continuing to work towards improving commercial capability across government. This will mean we can deliver better value for money and the best possible service for taxpayers.
Government Commercial Organisation
The Government Commercial Organisation (GCO) is the employer of senior commercial professionals (at Grade 7 and above) within the GCF.
The GCO brings together the best commercial talent across government. It provides employees with:
- commercial accreditation
- targeted development
- access to a network of commercial leaders
At the moment, the GCO consists of 250 senior commercial specialists. These specialists sit within government departments, working on commercial contracts. They can also be deployed across government to support the most critical contracts.
Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer, leads the GCO.
The GCF and GCO are part of the Civil Service and the Cabinet Office.
See current vacancies at the GCO.
How we work
We work with departmental teams and the Crown Commercial Service to procure goods and services and manage third-party suppliers.
Commercial professionals work across the procurement cycle from strategy and pre-market engagement and procurement, through to contract management.
The GCF commercial standards for government define how all government departments should operate commercially to ensure consistency of commercial behaviours and purchasing across government.
We will continually improve our processes by assessing ourselves against the standards and sharing best practice.
Career opportunities and professional development
The government commercial college on the civil service learning website, is where members of the profession can find out about the learning, qualifications and opportunities available to them.
The college outlines the learning and development available for all non-specialist civil servants, non-specialist senior civil servants and those looking to move into a commercial profession.