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Civil Service

What's new in commercial skills

Head and shoulders of Gareth Rhys Williams
Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer

My vision of “making the Government Commercial Function the best commercial function in the UK” is purposefully ambitious. We have a duty to the public to ensure every penny of taxpayers’ money has been spent in the most effective way.

This responsibility falls not only on the shoulders of our commercial professionals who negotiate the contracts we make with our suppliers, but on those who manage and improve those contracts, and those who support this wider commercial activity.

'Skilled people' logoIt’s a challenging and exciting area to work in, and being part of a function that supports collaboration and the continuous development of valuable skills provides the foundation on which to grow a successful commercial career.

So what’s new?

For anyone interested in finding out more about commercial, or if you are already part of the commercial community, there are two opportunities I’d like to draw your attention to.

Learn about the Commercial Cycle on Civil Service Learning (CSL)

CSL recently launched a collection of courses that break down the commercial cycle.

The four-part series is aimed at those new to the profession wanting to increase their commercial awareness, and others who would like to brush up on their existing knowledge.

The way the courses are delivered has been overhauled by CSL to provide more engaging and effective learning. I’d recommend you take a look at the commercial courses on CSL to find out what’s new. Remember to register for a CSL account if you don’t already have one.  

Return of the MOOC

mooc graphic
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution

Some of you may recall the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which returns on 14 November, focusing on Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business. This popular interactive course offers an exciting opportunity to understand how to make good commercial decisions, get the most from suppliers and the best deal for taxpayers.

The MOOC is aimed at everyone. No prior knowledge of contract management is required.

It will again offer a blend of learning aids, including videos, facilitated discussions and Q&A sessions. These give you the opportunity to share experiences and discuss issues with expert academics, experienced professionals and other learners all over the world.

The course will take place over three weeks and learners can dip in and out of the learning. Usually, a total of two to three hours per week is enough time to cover the course materials. Online materials are also available to participants once the course has finished.  The course covers:

Relationship fundamentals
  • What can go right or wrong in business relationships
  • The rules that govern public and private sector procurement
  • How to make sure that what you buy (or sell) is what you and your customer really needs
Relationship complexities
  • Looking at the complex supply chains and networks that are a feature of many contracts
  • Learning how to manage the many and various needs of multiple stakeholders
What does this mean to you?
  • The final part of the course, bringing the other strands together, using an example scenario to put theory into practice

Why not make the most of this free and flexible way to improve your core commercial skills, learning alongside thousands of others across the world.

You can find out more and register here.

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  1. Comment by Dorothy Caller posted on

    I took part in the MOOC the first time round and it was quite good. You can skim through it by not reading a lot of the links hence the couple of hours a week - or you can spend a good hour every day getting through the modules. Either way it was worth working through.
    The only down side is the HMT do not recognise the Commercial qualification - MCIPS - but do recognise the financial side!?

  2. Comment by Paul Grayham posted on

    As FutureLearn is owned by the Open University, does this mean that the course described here can be accessed by a home PC or do we have to log on via the HMRC GVT portal? Thanks

    • Replies to Paul Grayham>

      Comment by Pauline Anderson posted on

      I joined FutureLearn using my personal email address and therefore I can access it from my home PC. I accessed it this morning for the start of the course.

  3. Comment by Phippster posted on

    Talking of MOOCs, FutureLearn, a social learning platform owned by the Open University, offers some very high-quality courses online for free. For example, I've just finished the 'Learn To Code for Data Analysis' course (which teaches the basics of using Python/Pandas/Jupyter to acquire/cleanse/transform/visualise data) and it was excellent.