UK government 'not collecting data on commercial training outcomes'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
17 July 2020

The commercial function in the UK civil service is not collecting data on the impact and benefits of its training programme, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

In a report on specialist skills in the civil service, the NAO said as a result the function “cannot assess the effectiveness of the training they provide”.

However, the report said the commercial function was the only one – out of finance, digital, and project delivery – to have embedded a model of departmental “blueprints” involving capability and capacity plans.

“While most of the functions we examined collect data on the number of people trained through their academies, they do not generally collect data on the impact and benefits of their current training offer,” said the NAO.

“The project delivery function is one exception, as it told us it collects impacts and benefits data to inform procurement of its leadership programmes.

“This means functions typically cannot assess the effectiveness of the training they provide, nor can they be sure that these programmes represent the best use of their, and departments’, resources.”

The report said more than 4,000 commercial staff had been assessed through the Assessment and Development Centre to date, while the Contract Management Training and Accreditation Programme aimed to reach 30,000 civil servants across every government department.

The NAO said the commercial function had more than doubled in size since 2013 to 4,560 people in 2018. The gender split was 66% male and 34% female.

It said there were pay variations across departments for specialists on the same grade, with a disparity of up to £39,000 for commercial professionals in the pay band1/1A in 2018. The median salary was £91,000.

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