3 great reasons to choose CCS for your contact centre requirements

Join us at our customer forum on 19 July to learn more about how our contact centre services framework can help you.

Contact with public sector organisations is driven by citizens’ need to access a wide range of services, comply with regulation and seek information and guidance. The way citizens want to access and interact with public services continues to evolve at pace.

Growing use of digital solutions and the ever changing social media landscape is increasing the many touch points in people’s lives – and changing the way people want to communicate.

As we celebrate the 1st anniversary of our Contact Centre Services framework, I’d like to invite you to join us on 19 July at our next Contact Centre Public Sector Customer Forum and share with you some insights from our customers and suppliers over the past year…

3 great reasons to choose a best in class solution from CCS

       1. Dedicated CCS category team support from start to finish

We will work closely with you to help you develop your requirements and find a solution that provides you with end-to-end outstanding customer service tailored to your specific needs – now and in the future.

       2. Service improvements and innovation

We’ll help you work with your internal customers and develop strategies to maximise your contact centre services, facilitating market engagement to provide intelligence and insight to inform your thinking. Our market-leading framework suppliers will ensure you achieve service improvements and innovation.

       3. Great operational AND commercial outcomes

Our customers have seen greater operational outcomes and commercial savings of between 10% – 50%.

What our customers say

“The team at CCS has provided invaluable support to aid us through the process…organising a supplier engagement event…it is a pleasure to work with the team.” Money Advice Service

“Provided support at both the project initiation and strategy stages…demonstrating key knowledge in this sector and creative commercial thinking.” Home Office

“Provided insights into not just how to best make use of the framework, but also on contact centres and the market more generally. They advised on how to take advantage of existing opportunities and how we might create opportunities to maximise attractiveness to the market and deliver better value for money.” Department for Education

Join our customer forum

If you are looking to review your contact centre requirements or would like to learn more about the current possibilities, this event is ideal for you.

Taking place in London on 19 July you will have the chance to meet the category team and network with other public sector organisations to share experiences, best practice and the latest thinking.

Our first forum was held in March and brought together 17 organisations representing more than £600m worth of contact centre spend, serviced by more than 30,000 agents.  

If you would like to attend please get in touch stating ‘contact centre forum’ in the comments box.

What our suppliers say

“[CCS team is] professional, dedicated and organised, enabling us to focus our resources on pulling together the best possible tender response and service definition for the ultimate benefit of our clients and their end customers.” BancTec (Exela Tech)

“CCS has encouraged organisations to seek customer service innovation and development in the procurement process through early engagement, so that the best solutions can be developed, encouraging transformation and business change to better service the public’s needs.” HGS

“We are seeing lots of opportunities emerge from across the public sector, enabling us to better focus our resources and investments to create winning solutions and propositions for our new and existing customers.” Serco

“The early market engagement sessions have provided a great opportunity to impart our knowledge and experience, enabling us to fully understand the specific requirements and create tailored solutions aligned to the service needs [of potential customers].” Teleperformance

Get in touch

If you would like to attend the forum on 19 July reserve your place today.

If you can’t make the event and you would like to discuss how we can help you please get in touch quoting ‘contact centres’ in comments box.

You can also learn more about the framework by visiting the framework page.

Find the best print / scan / copy machines for your organisation

When it comes to buying print / scan / copy machines for your organisation, it’s important to find a solution that meets your specific needs. Whether you are looking to buy or lease, the Purchasing Platform from CCS can provide you with the best print / scan / copy solution, saving you both time and money.

This article will:

  • Help clarify what options are available to you
  • Outline the factors you need to consider before deciding to purchase
  • Help you find the correct solution on the Purchasing Platform

Purchasing Platform

Our print/scan/copy machine solutions are available to any public or third sector organisation. This includes options to buy now or send out an RFQ (Request for Quotation).

To send out an RFQ you will need to know the number and types of device you require, and any software, network and security requirements. By filling out a simple requirements sheet, you can send suppliers everything they need to bid for your business.

It’s easy to compare products, price and suppliers:

  1. Complete your requirements and supply background details of your organisation – this is sent to our nine pre qualified suppliers.
  2. Suppliers can use the tool to contact you securely with any questions before responding with their optimal solution and price.
  3. Evaluate the responses and select the supplier who has best met your needs to award your business to

You can add additional software options to your requirements, including:

  • Cloud based mobile printing (allowing you to access any printer from any device over the internet)
  • Automatically printing in mono
  • Authentication by ID card

This process can be run well in advance of when you want the contract to start or the machines to be delivered/installed.

Buy now

For direct one-off purchases from a catalogue, you can choose from a range of devices with confirmed prices and pre-approved suppliers.

Why buy your print / scan / copy machines through the Purchasing Platform?

  • Potential savings of up to 20% from previous contracts
  • Extensive range from market leading suppliers
  • Access to the latest technology and software developments
  • New energy efficient devices to reduce energy usage
  • Heightened security of devices and data

What are you waiting for? Get started with your next print, scan and copy machines the easy way.  To watch a video showing the purchasing process, see a case study and to register today, click here

Our Spend Analysis and Recovery Services framework (SARS) offers you more

Our Spend Analysis and Recovery Services framework (SARS) offers you more more specialist suppliers to deliver analysis at a more detailed level to help you recover more savings.

Did you know, it’s estimated that around 1% of transactions (invoices and payments) contain some form of error? Some of these can be ‘caught’ by internal processes, however the more complex errors are often not identified and result in losses for an organisation – and this can quickly add up to a significant figure.

As a result, back in February we launched our new SARS framework to help your organisation identify and recover losses from errors made as part of invoice and payment processes.

The services available are delivered by experienced professionals using proprietary software and processes to identify errors analytically and recover these for their customers. The process is delivered on a gain share basis with no ‘upfront’ costs.

SARS can help you deliver savings based on the analysis of data, efficiency improvements in your procurement function and recovery of spend from your supply chain.

What are the big benefits of using SARS:

  • No win, no fee cost structure
  • Minimal internal resource required
  • Process improvements will bring efficiency and fewer errors
  • Cash recoveries
  • Access to specialist suppliers

Want to find out more?

Watch our short film for an overview of how the SARS framework can work for your organisation.

We are planning a series of webinars to help you learn more and ask specific questions to our subject matter experts. If you’re interested in a webinar or if you’d like to see how we can help you now, please get in touch or visit our SARS pages.

We’re replacing MISO

Every month, CCS receives over 8000 MI returns from suppliers, through a system called Management Information System Online (MISO).

We’ve recognised that MISO is at the end of its life and this presents challenges for suppliers. It’s built on outdated technology and suppliers regularly tell us it is not easy to use. We have listened to this feedback and over the last few months, we’ve been working with dxw digital to help us develop a new service to replace MISO.

We’ve undertaken user research with suppliers and the team at CCS who support the service, and have built and tested a prototype of the replacement.

We’ve analysed data from the current system to get more of an understanding of how people are using it, when peak times are, and what errors they are receiving. At the same time, we analysed the returns made over the last few years to get a sense of what might be the best way to segment returns to create a migration plan.

We’re now starting work on building a minimum viable service which we’ll be trialling with a small number of suppliers later this year.

In addition to the online service, we’re working to simplify the templates, and reducing the amount of information, that suppliers complete each month.  We’ll be talking more about this in the coming weeks.

User research and prototyping

Since late last year, we’ve been conducting research with suppliers to look at how they collate the data for their monthly submissions and how they use the existing MISO service.

Our suppliers told us that collating the information in the way that the current system needs was a particular pain point.

They also told us that the usability of the MISO service, particularly the error messages that they receive when completing their templates and submitting a return, are unhelpful. Additionally, performance issues around submission deadlines make the process much more difficult.

We’ve used this research to help us develop a prototype that we’ve shown to around a dozen suppliers so far. We’ve received positive feedback that it makes the submission process much simpler.

Next week we’ll talk more about how we took the learnings from the research and prototype to create a new task-based approach to completing returns.

What’s next

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be blogging more about the work we’re doing, and what the changes will mean for suppliers.

We’ll also be publishing a roadmap of new features for the service, and the plan to roll out the service to suppliers and frameworks.

Health Sector Resourcing – tell us what you think

We want your feedback to help us develop a new health workforce solution for agency and bank staff.

We are developing a new commercial agreement, which will be called Health Sector Resourcing, to replace our existing agency and bank staffing agreements that expire in summer 2019.

It is really important to us that the new agreement meets your needs, so please take a few minutes to complete this short survey and share your thoughts.

Health Sector Resourcing will cover the provision of clinical and non-clinical temporary workers, permanent clinical workers, staff bank solutions and joined up bank and agency solutions and tailored resourcing approaches.

It will replace the following existing agreements:

  • Workforce Management (RM1072) expires 14 June 2019
  • Non Medical Non Clinical Resource (RM971) expires 30 June 2019
  • Multidisciplinary Temporary Healthcare Professionals (RM3711) expires 31 August 2019

We have also established a customer board that meets regularly to help shape and inform the new agreement.

It’s not too late to join the board – if you would like to find out more about joining or getting involved in the evaluation process please get in touch quoting HSR customer board in the comments box.

New Supply Teachers commercial agreement coming soon

Supply teachers are an important part of a school’s workforce, yet there isn’t a commercial arrangement currently in place to help schools access this resource compliantly and cost-effectively.  

This is why we have been working with the Department for Education (DfE) to develop a new commercial agreement designed specifically for schools. Schools’ spent £1.17bn on supply teachers in 2015-16, 72% (£840m) of which was on agency supply.

This highlights the need to ensure schools have access to an agreement that can help them be confident they are not just getting value for money, but are also complying with procurement regulations.

Available from September in time for the next academic year, the agreement will help you fill both urgent short term needs and longer term assignments.

Why use the new agreement?

You will be able to source both temporary and fixed term teaching and non-teaching roles, ranging from supply teachers, unqualified teachers, cover supervisors and teaching assistants, up to headteacher and leadership roles, plus support roles such as admin, finance and cleaning.

The agreement will bring transparency to agency margins and require agencies to adhere to standard levels of practice, including on the use of temp-to-perm fees. This will help you manage your costs without sacrificing teacher quality and standards, with the added peace of mind that all agencies will have industry standard accreditation.   

The agreement will also offer you a choice of access routes:

  • an easy to use direct award ‘Agency Selection Tool’ that will enable you to quickly see which agencies in your area can meet your requirement and who offers the best value – agencies will be ranked by their agency mark-ups.
  • for schools, multi-academy trusts and local authorities with bigger and more frequent needs there will also be managed service and neutral vendor options that will take responsibility for all sourcing, engagement and administration of your non-permanent workforce.

Find out more

DfE recently issued an Expression of Interest communication that you can sign up to. You can also get updates directly from CCS: simply please get in touch stating ‘supply teachers’ in the comments box.

Management consultancy update

The Management Consultancy Framework (RM3745) provides you with access to expert professional support in:

  • Finance – ideal for any organisation that needs help developing financial strategies, policies and processes or support with specialist investment and financial market advisory services
  • Audit – ideal for any organisation that needs help with audit assurance, governance and risk management
  • HR – ideal for any organisation that needs help with the development of HR policies and programmes
  • Health and community – ideal for NHS trusts and other organisations needing professional support with social and public health policy; housing needs, supply, funding and support; hospital management; primary care; mental health and much more
  • Education – ideal for schools, colleges and universities looking for help with curriculum planning and development; qualification management advice; academy conversions; behavioural programmes; special needs educational support programmes; Ofsted audit planning and much more
  • Infrastructure – ideal for councils and housing associations looking for help with utilities; highways and roads; planning strategies for infrastructure developments; population and demographic reviews; transport policies and strategies; waste infrastructure and much more
  • ICT and digital – ideal for any organisation that needs help with the development of strategy, pre-design solutions and assurance of ICT business improvement projects.

The framework supports you with:

  • Detailed templates to help you run a further competition
  • Pre-agreed terms and conditions
  • Flexible pricing mechanisms (based on time and material, fixed or gain share)
  • Flexible further competition criteria
  • A wide choice of suppliers with over 50% SMEs

Business consultancy

The OJEU contract notice for the Management Consultancy Framework 2 (RM6008) has also recently been published and the new commercial agreement is expected to award in August. Services will be offered across 4 lots:

  • Business consultancy
  • Procurement, supply chain and commercial consultancy
  • Complex and transformation consultancy
  • Strategic consultancy

Learn more

We are planning to host webinars for customers interested in using the frameworks, so if you would be interested in joining us please get in touch and let us know what topics you’d like us to cover. Simply mention ‘Consultancy webinars’ in the comments box.

In the meantime, we have also developed this Frequently asked questions document that you might find helpful. If there is a consultancy requirement we can help you with right now please get in touch.


digitech18 – the technology & procurement showcase for the public sector

Counting down the days…

It’s not long now until digitech18 opens its doors at the First Direct Arena, Leeds. The event will host technology users and procurement delegates from healthcare, local government, central government, blue light services and education sectors, all of whom will attend free of charge.

A combined conference and technology showcase, digitech18 is the brainchild of the partnership between Crown Commercial Service and Public Sector Connect and will feature a host of presentations by influential, high-profile, speakers from both public and private sectors.

Add to that a large exhibition area populated by more than 60 technology solution providers, both large and small and you have an event that qualifies you for 5 CPD hours/points, making it truly unmissable!


We have confirmed the following speakers for digitech18:

  • Niall Quinn, Technology Director, Crown Commercial Service
  • Geoff Connell, Past President, Socitm
  • Ieuan Trigger, Director of Network/Telecommunication Strategy and Procurement for the UK Government.
  • Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London, Mayor’s Office
  • Andrew Wilson, Associate Director, Commercial Engagement, NHS Digital
  • Michael Bowyer, Innovation and Knowledge Sharing Director, Innopsis
  • Warren Smith, Digital Marketplace Director, Government Digital Service
  • Emma Jones, Small Business Crown Representative
  • Melinda Johnson, Commercial Director, Department of Health and Social Care

digitech18 is a new and innovative event aimed at everyone with an interest in technology for the UK public sector. Bringing together a wide range of speakers and workshops, the event will help to demystify the technology landscape and showcase some of the latest technology solutions that are helping to transform the way in which public sector organisations deliver services for citizens.

Timed to reflect the urgent pressures faced by public sector organisations in delivering their digital transformation agendas, including tacking IT disaggregation and transitioning services to the cloud, digitech18 is set to be a must attend event for all public sector organisations.

With speakers and partners from SOCITM, GDS, CCS, Cabinet Office, NHS digital and the Local Government Association and many more there is something to appeal to technology leads and commercial teams from across the entire public sector. Delegates will learn more about how they can procure and deliver transformational change in their own organisation and maximise the benefits that their technology spend can provide.

The event is free of charge for public sector delegates and will provide you with access to some of the UK’s leading technology experts in our two theatres, covering commercial excellence, the changing technology market, transformation and policy. Spaces are strictly limited so please register today to ensure you don’t miss out.

Our Digital Services Team needs your help – get involved in user research

As part of government’s ongoing process of digitisation, Crown Commercial Service’s Digital Services Team have a commitment to making all of our services simple, efficient and easy to use – making the experience of working with us the best it can be. To achieve this goal, we are seeking participants for our user research: people who can tell us what works well on our digital platforms, their frustrations and pain points, and what features and functions could improve our services in the future.

Whether you are new to CCS’s services or an experienced user – whether you have had a great experience in working with us, or think we need to improve – we want to hear from you!

If you would be interested in taking part, please fill out this Google Form. Your data will be kept secure and will never be passed on – we’ll only use it to contact you about taking part in research.

We are focusing on only a few products at a time, so you may not hear from us straight away. We won’t ask you for anything onerous – you may receive a survey, or be asked to take part in an hour-long research interview, either in person or online – and you can withdraw your interest at any time.

Your feedback will play a direct role in improving our digital services, both now and in the future – we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

New Microsoft agreement to improve cyber security

Following close collaboration between CCS, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Digital, the NHS has recently signed a national agreement with Microsoft to ensure all health and care organisations are able to use Windows 10 software with up-to-date security settings to help prevent cyber attacks.

Read more about the announcement

To find out more about accessing the agreement please speak to the Microsoft partner who was successful in winning the tender.

How we’re improving our customer service for you

Last year, following an extensive review of our customer service processes, we established a new customer service centre to act as a first point of contact for all customers, regardless of the nature of their enquiry.

We’ve been working hard to shape this new service to ensure it meets your needs and that CCS is easy to do business with – not just for today but also when planning ahead for the future.

So I wanted to tell you a bit more about what we have been doing…

The right people here to help you

We’ve recruited the best people into the team, bringing together a wealth of customer service experience from a wide range of roles and sectors.

We delivered an extensive training programme to everyone in the team, covering all products and services and equipping our customer service advisors and subject matter experts with the right level of knowledge and understanding of procurement processes.

Listening and learning

We’ve been getting to know our customers better, finding out what you think about our services – what we’re doing well and areas we can improve. Last year we received more than 1,000 responses to our customer survey, and whilst our Net Promoter Score (NPS) of +36 indicates that we are providing a good service, your feedback is the key driver behind the development of a clear customer service strategy that will shape our service further.  

You told us you wanted a single place to go for support…

You can now contact our centralised customer service centre via:

Please update your CCS contact email address to info@crowncommercial.gov.uk. Our aim is to resolve your enquiries as quickly as possible or ensure a specialist team responds, where necessary.  

You told us you wanted a quicker response to your enquiries…

Last year the customer service centre received more than 185,000 enquiries:

  • 91% of these were resolved at first point of contact
  • 94% of calls were answered within 60 seconds
  • 90% of email enquiries were responded to within 24 hours

What’s next?

We’re making CCS even easier to do business with – we want to answer even more of your queries at first point of contact, through further training and collaboration across CCS. This will ensure you have a single place to go where you know you will get an answer to your enquiry – and if we can’t answer your query we will get you to the right person quickly.

Commitment to a consistent, high standard of service – we are developing a quality assurance model to ensure that when we answer your enquiry we get it right first time. Your survey feedback plays a key role in this, alongside our quality monitoring of enquiry responses and frequent liaison with all areas of our business to ensure we provide a consistent and high quality response.

Improved customer experience and satisfaction – the majority of enquiries received are now routed through our Salesforce CRM system. This, together with customer survey feedback, enables us to develop in-depth customer insight providing a more accurate understanding of what you want from us, now and in the future. We will use this information to support development of the services that we provide at first point of contact, improving customer satisfaction, providing outstanding customer service and enabling the delivery of more tailored solutions that meet your requirements.

If we can help you with anything at all, don’t forget the 3 key ways to reach our customer service centre

Another great Procurex North

Travelling to events around the country and meeting with huge numbers of dedicated and passionate public sector professionals and suppliers is one of the best parts of my role at CCS. Last week myself and colleagues had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of such people at the Procurex North in Manchester.

I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who came to our stand or listened to one of our sessions, it was great to meet so many people.

Procurex North

In the main conference theatre our Chief Executive Malcolm Harrison spoke and outlined four key areas that he views as being key to CCS’ future success. These include a move towards digital procurement services, which is where the Crown Marketplace provides so many opportunities; a focus on collaborating with the wider public sector to ensure we can offer them the most value when procuring common goods and services; investing in the skills and talent of our people and continuing to support SMEs through public spending. If you missed Malcolm at Procurex North, here are the presentation slides.

We also hosted a dedicated CCS showcase theatre and stand, where my colleagues presented on a range of topics:

  • What we’ve learnt and how we are changing – Nick Caton, Head of Wider Public Sector, Crown Commercial Service
  • No more excuses for not moving to cloud – Chris Short, Crown Commercial Service & Steve Hall, CEO Crown Hosting Data Centres, Ark Data Centres
  • Procurement policy update – Francesca Livesey, Policy and Public Sector, Crown Commercial Service
  • Making bidding easier – Andie Brookes, Crown Commercial Service

View their slide decks.

Here at CCS we’re committed to helping you achieve your procurement goals and saving you time and money, which means you can focus on the things that really matter – like helping protect frontline services and delivering your social value agendas.

If there is anything we can help you with or if you want to be kept up to date on the latest news, please fill in our enquiry form.

Need help meeting the new statutory requirement to audit your housing benefit subsidy claims?

As you are no doubt aware, the Department for Work and Pensions has recently announced that all local authorities in England must appoint a reporting accountant to audit their housing benefit subsidy claims by 2 July 2018.

This is a big ask in a short space of time – particularly when all authorities will be sourcing their requirements at the same time!

How we can help you

We can help you meet this statutory requirement through lot 3 of our Management Consultancy framework (RM3745), which offers you access to a range of audit specialists who are perfectly placed to help you.

We’ve developed a suite of templates to help you run your tender and appoint an accountant as quickly as possible, and we’re on hand to offer you advice and guidance on using the framework.

If you would like to know more about the housing benefit subsidy claims or have a question simply fill in this online form, stating ‘RM3745 lot 3’ along with your question in the comments box, and we will be in touch.

You can read full details of the DWP announcement in S7/2018: Assurance of Housing Benefit subsidy claims 2018/19 (England only)