CIPS Group CEO Gerry Walsh (right) shakes hands with Gareth Rhys Williams © Charles Best
CIPS Group CEO Gerry Walsh (right) shakes hands with Gareth Rhys Williams © Charles Best

UK government teams up with CIPS to boost commercial skills

17 August 2017

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) has signed a new deal with the UK government to collectively enhance and further improve commercial capabilities across the civil service. 

The Government’s Commercial Function (GCF), a cross-government network procuring goods and services for the government, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on behalf of the Cabinet Office as part of reforms aimed at enhancing senior commercial expertise.

Gareth Rhys Williams, Cabinet Office chief commercial officer, said having the right people with the right skills in the right organisational structure was key to fulfilling the GCF ambition to be the best commercial function in the UK. 

“We need a cadre of great commercial talent in all government departments; people who can manage our commercial portfolios, who can lead our most complex and novel programmes and projects, people who have the gravitas and depth of experience to work alongside our policy and operational leaders to develop innovative commercial arrangements, including joint ventures, outsourcing and best-in-class contracts," he said.

“Professional development is a key part of holding the workforce we need, skilled and accredited and with qualifications recognised the world over. That is why I am pleased to be associated with CIPS.”

Under the MOU, the partners agreed to establish a senior commercial leaders’ forum to develop views from industry and key government commercial capability initiatives. It will work collaboratively to deliver training and capability improvement programmes both in the GCF and across the civil service. The forum will maintain and promote professional people standards, as well as ethical standards of practice in the profession, including the promotion of the CIPS ethics test and the Civil Service Code.

The partners stated they would also seek opportunities to accredit, design and deliver continuous professional development interventions and would leverage CIPS membership networks to provide views from industry. 

Gerry Walsh, group CEO for CIPS, said the MOU would build and strengthen the partnership between CIPS and the government to ensure a successful future and the protection of taxpayers’ money. 

“We have a long history of partnership with the UK government to enhance the development of commercial acumen and judgement in a broad and complex range of procurement and supply management activities undertaken within the GCF,” he said.

“I’m delighted that CIPS is working with the GCF to create a senior commercial leaders’ forum, driving and promoting excellence while aligning with the Government Commercial Professional People Standards.”

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