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11 August 2014 | Will Green
The government is to double the size of its commissioning academy to 1,500 participants by 2016.
The academy, launched in April 2013, aims to improve the commercial skills of buyers from across the public sector, and in its first year demand for places increased by 50 per cent.
The move comes as research shows 72 per cent of people who have taken part in the programme feel it is already “having a tangible impact and they were confident it would lead to a positive outcome for citizens”.
So far more than 250 buyers have been through the academy and another 250 are expected to have taken part by the end of the year.
Tim Eyres, head of 11-19 strategy and commissioning at Norfolk County Council, said: “Following attendance on the academy, we co-located our commissioning and commercial teams to form a commissioning hub. Adults and children's services co-commissioned our family intervention project from the hub. Bringing the two elements together made it a simpler, more streamlined process for procurement elements and from the providers' perspective, allowed them to integrate their delivery more fully. This has been achieved with approximately a 15 per cent reduction in the overall budget while minimising the impact for families and service users.”
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “Our pioneering commissioning academy is helping build commercial skills across the public sector; that’s part of this government’s long-term plan for a stronger economy. This academy has become a must-attend programme with participants telling us how it has helped transform their thinking.
“Strengthening commissioning skills will help save taxpayers’ money, improve public services and ensure the most innovative and impressive suppliers, whether they are SMEs, voluntary organisations or larger, established companies, are able to win business from us.”