About Crown Commercial Service (CCS)
CCS plays an important role helping the UK public sector save money when buying common goods and services.
We are the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK. We use our commercial expertise to help buyers in central government and across the public and third sectors to purchase everything from locum doctors and laptops to police cars and electricity.
The collective purchasing power of our customers, plus our procurement knowledge, means we can get the best commercial deals in the interests of taxpayers.
Why buy through CCS
CCS helps thousands of public and third sector buyers in the UK with billions of pounds of spending each year. We have a wide range of commercial agreements to help you buy what you need, when you need, saving you time and money.
CCS commercial agreements use competition among suppliers to increase quality and value. In 2021/22 we helped our customers achieve commercial benefits totalling over £2.8 billion of public money by using our agreements.
You can buy a wide and varied range of common goods and services through CCS. For example:
- police cars
- language services
- facilities management
- contact centres
- management consultancy
- building materials
- temporary nursing staff
- digital specialists
Procurement regulations oblige public sector bodies to tender (seek bids) from suppliers when they want to buy goods and services above a certain value. Buying through CCS complies with procurement regulations but simplifies the process for buyers.
Our commercial agreements have standardised contract terms and guidance for buyers. Our service is free to use for public sector and third sector organisations, for example, local authorities, charities and housing associations.
We have commercial expertise, deep knowledge of product and service categories, and national buying power.
How buying through CCS is organised
Everyday purchases, such as office supplies, are available from CCS catalogues and can be bought online for rapid delivery. Catalogues currently include technology products, office supplies and multi-function devices for printing, copying and scanning.
CCS publishes commercial agreements for more complex requirements. For example, for buying a fleet of vehicles or for legal advice. We call these frameworks.
A framework comprises a description of common public sector requirements, a list of suppliers who have been evaluated as capable of delivering the requirements, and standardised contract terms. Frameworks are often divided into lots, typically by product or service type.
You can buy from a framework in various ways, such as running a further competition among suppliers.
Advantages of buying through CCS
- buyers get competitive prices because suppliers can sell large volumes of their products and services to UK public sector organisations as though they were supplying a single customer
- CCS vets and reviews suppliers regularly. This saves you time finding suppliers and checking their reliability
- a large number of suppliers from multinational companies to small and medium sized business (SMEs)
- contracts include performance management, obliging suppliers to improve value and service over time
- contracts comply with public sector procurement regulations
- standardised contract terms reduce administration
- free to use for public sector and third sector organisations
Partnerships at CCS
We operate several strategic relationships with third parties and customers that we refer to as partnerships. They range from unique agreements with other government departments to broader agreements with other Public Buying Organisations.
Partnerships have a tangible impact on our relationship with customers, and we regard entering into one as a strategic business decision. This means when we establish partnerships, we can be sure our customers will receive benefits such as better value for money, ease of use, or social value through a shared solution.
As market and customer behaviours change, so do our partnerships. We continue to embrace and expand our partnership portfolio and our solutions are on a constant cycle of recreation and transformation.
Our partners are vital to what we do and by identifying shared values, and leveraging our combined strengths, together we will save the public sector time and money.