UK's Crown Commercial Service creams off £72m from frameworks

Bureaucratic body has year of 'intense activity'

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Government procurement body Crown Commercial Services had a bumper year in 2014/15, increasing its slice of commission and fees from government frameworks by 50 per cent to a cool £72m.

During that period the body doubled its staff costs to £44.4m, increased full-time headcount from 430 to 674, and ran a surplus of £2m, which in the short-term will be banked in a "high interest account".

Chief exec Sally Collier received a total of £215,000 in salary and benefits. This was an increase of nearly £100,000 mainly due to pensions contributions, according to its annual report.

CCS said its increase in revenue reflected a year of "intense activity". Total managed spend was £15bn, up from £13.1bn last year.

However, suppliers familiar with the grinding bureaucracy of government frameworks are likely to take little comfort in the news.

After an extremely slow and painful process the Network Services contract finally went live last week, 12 months after the tender was issued due to a series of delays. Many SMEs also complained they had to work over the festive period to complete the 700-question tender after it was redrafted.

Other unpopular frameworks manned by CCS include Contingent Labour One (CLOne), which even the prime contractor Capita doesn't apparently like for "niche" IT skills; and the Digital Services framework – which SMEs have demanded be overhauled.

CCS reckons it has also shaved off £3m in savings from major IT hardware suppliers by securing discounts. However, that appears to be a tiny amount when measured against the tens of billions spent on IT in the public sector each year.

The body noted that the G-Cloud is showing an average of 20 per cent savings against prior legacy-based, single vendor agreements.

CCS was created out of the Government Procurement Service, the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Team, and the Efficiency and Reform Group’s commercial advisory function on 1 April 2014. ®


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