Buyers need to think about the operational cost of assets and not just the upfront capital costs.
Samantha Ulyatt, commercial director for buildings at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) said past decisions over procurements may have been different if the procuring authority had looked at the whole-life cost of the project.
Speaking at the Public Sector Show in London today, Ulyatt said: “By a whole-life cost approach, we understand where the costs are and we understand where the focus is.
“The operation element often gets left out in terms of costing and a big focus ends up on the capital element. That’s something, [but] by having other glasses on and looking at the whole-life cost, some decisions would be different than decisions perhaps we would make either yesterday or today.”
Ulyatt added that providing an end-to-end solution meant not just dealing with one set of suppliers or consultants, but bringing together the people who would build, operate and ultimately dispose of an asset at the end of its life.
As head of the CCS’s buildings category, Ulyatt said the key focus for her and her team was to “become the expertise” of all the areas within the category in order to offer an “asset-to-operate approach” to customers. This means focusing on customer needs, maximising commercial benefits – as opposed to just reducing costs – and integrating policy into contracts.
It is not enough to just have “great policy”, there needs to be “great policy that is deployed actually on the ground”, she said. Ulyatt added: “When we come to construction, for example, that’s definitely an area which we need to focus on.”
Ulyatt said CCS spends over £100bn of taxpayers' money through more than 100,000 contracts. “And they’re only the ones I know about,” she said. “By leveraging scale and expertise, not just CCS but the entire public sector will achieve more value, guaranteed.”
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