The response from suppliers to the coronavirus pandemic has been “incredible”, according to the boss of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).
Simon Tse, chief executive of the CCS, said the organisation had received 9,000 offers of support from suppliers to source non-medical common goods and services.
Speaking at Procurex National, Tse this had enabled public sector bodies to access goods including clear plastic screens, sanitisers, cleaning products, and office and school supplies.
“The supplier response was incredible,” he said. “We had 9,000 offers of help to our online catalogue. We have worked with suppliers to bring quick and easy access to a wide range of products and services.”
He added: “Very early on in the pandemic CCS created agreements with two large wholesalers giving access to cash and carries to enable public sector bodies to get supplies of household items.”
He said a MOU had been signed with the Civil Aviation Authority to allow access to helicopter transport.
Tse described the previous few months as a “testing time” but CCS had “ensured customers get the right guidance and non-medical common goods and services to enable activities to continue”.
“We have worked hard to ensure the resilience of supply chains now and in the future,” he said.
Tse said CCS had “yet to fully understand the impact of the virus” but it was “focused on getting back on track while preparing for a potential second wave”.
“We are looking at category strategies to see if they are still fit for purpose,” he said.
He said CCS achieved “commercial benefits” of £1bn for customers last year and it was targeting the same figure this year.
Tse said “strengthening the UK economy is a priority”, along with “simplifying public procurement policies” and increasing social value and access for small businesses.
He said a green paper on the framework surrounding public procurement was due out “later this year”.
In May Tse told SM CCS was targeting £15bn of central government spend.
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