What is the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework?

Public sector bodies are under constant pressure to ensure that they are making efficient use of public funds, as well as ensuring business processes are managed in line with industry best practice. The government’s Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework is one of the key tools for helping to drive continuous improvement in this regard.

The framework is designed to ensure that every public sector organisation is exercising sound commercial judgement in the planning and management of procuring goods, works and services, while delivering value for money through contracts and relationships with suppliers, and, ultimately, maintaining a high standard of public service. Central government organisations need to bear these guidelines in mind as they develop their approaches to continuous improvement.

Here, we will examine the details of the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework, and highlight the key responsibilities that central government bodies and other public sector organisations must uphold.

An outline of the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework

The purpose of the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework (CCIAF) is to promote continuous improvement in commercial practices within the public sector by helping organisations to benchmark their commercial operations against accepted standards of good practice.

This government guidance document is part of the broader Government Functional Standard for Commercial, a set of rules designed to ensure that public funds are being spent in an efficient and commercially sensible way, delivering a strong return on investment. It was specifically designed to apply to NHS England & Improvement and Local Government requirements, but is voluntary for local government, police, fire and rescue organisations.

By adhering to the government commercial operating standards set out within the framework, public sector bodies are able to gain better visibility over their commercial delivery and capability improvement efforts, measuring performance and efficiency gains over time.

What does the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework cover?

Under the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework, public sector bodies must assess their operations through the following criteria:

  • Does the organisation have a robust commercial strategy and governance plan, setting out a clear vision and objectives for commercial delivery?
  • Is the team utilising educated market strategies, to ensure that opportunities for collaborative sourcing, market-led innovation and sustainable supply markets are being exploited?
  • Is there a strong commercial pipeline in place that provides an ongoing view of future commercial activity, allowing time and resources to be allocated to develop commercial strategies?
  • Is senior leadership suitably accountable for commercial activity, governance, controls and outcomes, and engaged with delivering the objectives?
  • Are commercial staff being recruited who are capable and well equipped with appropriate training to ensure effective engagement with the delivery goals?
  • Is the management structure transparent and clearly communicated, with managers who are adequately trained to manage contract complexity and risks?
  • Is the team capable of analysing business needs and demands to ensure the commercial strategy aligns to supply market capacity and capability?
  • Are commercial options and bids being appraised early and thoroughly, ensuring that the best suppliers and opportunities are selected, and that value for money is achieved?
  • Are contract terms being drawn up in a way that delivers on the intended outcomes, with risks being mitigated correctly?
  • When services are passed from one supplier to another, are these transitions being managed smoothly, with no unplanned interruption to service delivery?
  • Are organisations ensuring that goods, works and services delivered through contracts and external suppliers are being measured and reported properly?
  • Are inventories being assessed to determine that assets are managed correctly, ensuring effective use and planning of resources, and reduced waste?
  • Are strategic relationships with suppliers and partners being managed to allow organisations to collaborate to improve delivery, deliver value for money and increase mutual value?
  • Are commercial systems, market intelligence and automated tools being utilised to unlock process efficiency, robust controls and better decision-making?
  • Is the organisation ultimately succeeding in delivering the intended policy benefits to communities and the wider economy? Have opportunities for SMEs, voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises to get involved in service delivery been properly and sufficiently promoted?
  • Do the commercial activities align with government targets pertaining to sustainability and Net Zero policy objectives?

By working to align with the Government Functional Standard and the additional general commercial guidance laid out in the framework, public sector bodies will be able to ensure they are meeting all their commercial responsibilities, providing maximum value for money and, ultimately, delivering the best possible services for the public.

Find out more

The complete Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework can be viewed and downloaded from the HM Government website here.

For public sector organisations that are seeking support in implementing the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework, or are implementing a broader strategy for raising standards through continuous improvement, Linea can help. We work with government organisations and the wider public sector helping them transform processes, reduce waste and deliver optimal value with public funds.

Learn more about our continuous improvement services for government clients, call us on +44 (0) 124 442 1095, or complete our contact form to request a call back at your convenience.

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