How we work with buyers and suppliers to improve the way technology is bought across government and the public sector.
The purpose of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) technology service principles is to help buyers and suppliers work with us to continually improve the way technology is bought across government and the public sector. We want to make it simpler, clearer and faster to reach the best commercial outcome for all.
Our 7 service principles are:
- Start with user needs: buyers and suppliers
- Design simple, competitive, innovative commercial solutions and opportunities
- Provide clear commercial insight that helps make savings
- Grow the government supply chain
- Use technology and digital solutions to improve the buying process
- Support open data expansion and open source creation
- Maximise the Crown’s buying power
Start with user needs: buyers and suppliers
Procurement design starts with identifying and understanding user needs. We find out who the users are, what they really need, how they buy and what and how the market can supply. We do research including analysing data and talking to users at events and in user research sessions. We know that buyers sometimes aren’t clear about what they need so we help them separate wants and needs.
Design simple, competitive, innovative commercial solutions and opportunities
When designing commercial agreements we consider both buyer and supplier needs to ensure a mutually beneficial and appealing model for all users. We’re passionate about increasing clarity, applying commercial common sense and aligning with the Government Digital Strategy and the initiatives of the wider public sector. This includes the Digital Service Standard and the Cloud-First Policy.
We recognise that we need to meet today’s commercial requirements and plan for the commercial needs of tomorrow. Technology is a fast changing environment, so building in flexibility around specification, features and price is crucial. Offering a simple route to market makes it easier for new and disruptive technologies to succeed.
Provide clear commercial insight that helps make savings
We listen to how buyers describe their business needs and provide guidance on how best to achieve these outcomes. We make savings based on our commercial expertise, experience and market knowledge. This is about long term value, sustaining flexibility, choice and competition. We help buyers to maximise their budget and save the taxpayer money.
We provide advice on government suppliers and their performance. Our work with strategic suppliers across government gives us the knowledge to develop relationships and improve value. We work closely with the Technology Crown Representatives to ensure cross-government alignment by our largest suppliers and help encourage innovation.
Grow the government supply chain
We proactively engage with new and existing suppliers of all sizes and maturity.
We continue to improve our procurement solutions, simplify terms and conditions, and reduce barriers to entry. This reduces the cost to bid which encourages a more diverse supply base.
We also encourage buyers to break down their needs into smaller component services so we can create a healthy competitive market, with transparent costs that can easily be benchmarked.
This reduces costs, whilst helping to grow our UK economy, enabling more public funds to be put into frontline services.
Use technology and digital solutions to improve the buying process
A range of supply models and online tools, including catalogues, eSourcing systems, ePayment systems and Contracts Finder, are making the buying process more efficient. We want buyers to be able to use technology ‘as good as it is at home’ to collaborate, source, compare, evaluate and buy goods and services.
Support open data expansion and open source creation
We encourage open standards to enable interoperability, cost effective transition, shared services and access to data. We seek to make open source more practical by having clear commercial terms for intellectual property rights (IPR) where government has funded the development.
This allows government organisations to reuse and benefit from the investment of other government organisations, increases choice and opens up competition, providing a wide selection of suppliers in historically vendor-specific markets.
Maximise the Crown’s buying power
Government spends around £160 billion a year on goods and services across the public sector. Definitions of spend categories vary, but we estimate that approximately one fifth of this is on technology - both bespoke and common goods. The projected value of customer spend for common technology goods and services through our commercial arrangements in 2015/16 is £2.6 billion.
We maximise our buying power by buying collectively as the Crown.
This includes the whole of the public sector, as well as central government, so all organisations benefit from the volume discounts that buying collectively can achieve. In addition to savings, this provides buyers with certainty over commodity prices for the duration of the contract and suppliers can schedule production.