The Government is looking to create a ‘Commercial Academy’ to plug the skills gaps that are leading it to spend millions on consultants and suppliers each year.
Earlier this month, the Government published a list of the Top 100 suppliers receiving taxpayers' money in 2020.
The academy, which the Government says won’t require a new physical premises, would be aimed at building employees’ business and procurement expertise to help avoid such high levels of “external” spend in future.
If successful, the academy could be opened up to the public.
Pictured: A feasibility study is set to be conducted into the idea of a Commercial Academy.
“The Government of Jersey has long been reliant on external capability to deliver a significant proportion of its requirements,” a Government spokesperson explained.
“A Commercial Academy may be a solution to help diversity across the commercial and procurement landscape and encourage new ways of thinking and creating new inclusive career pathways. We will be base-lining the level of commercial and procurement capability across the Government whilst seeking to reduce reliance on external expertise, helping build the skills required for both today and the future.”
Funding for a feasibility study is expected to be provided at a later date. It will examine the viability of the idea, what accreditations might be provided, methods of training and what financial models the academy might follow.
“Whilst we do not wish to anticipate the outcome of a feasibility study, we are passionate about upskilling and developing the resilience and talent pipelines of our people across the Government and potentially subject to the outcome of the study, the island,” the spokesperson added.
“We will be seeking to develop an inclusive internal solution first, with a view to develop this into an inclusive on-island solution working with our colleagues in Skills Jersey. One of the core principles of this initiative is to ensure that the outcome is accessible to all, enabling greater commercial and procurement diversity and inclusion both across Government and our island.”
However, to begin progressing the idea, the Treasury Minister has handed the Government’s Chief Operating Office £1.5m to help recruit six extra full-time staff until the end of the year.
Their recruitment is also a partial response to the challenges of covid-19, Brexit and the demands of the Government Plan 2021-2024 being more onerous than initially expected.
Part of their work will involve putting together a strategy and ‘Social Value Marketplace’ to ensure that the Government prioritises local suppliers.
Pictured: A 'Social Value' strategy will also be drawn up to ensure spending stays in Jersey, and benefits more than just the economy.
The concept of a ‘Social Value Marketplace’ is a portal that not only aims to ensure that money spent on goods and services stays within a local economy, but also delivers a wider social and/or environmental good.
Surrey County Council currently uses one to advertise contract opportunities locally. Their portal also allows organisations post requests for help or offers of help, while local suppliers can create profiles and communicate with each other if they are working towards the same social goals.
The social value initiative, and this month's 'Top 100' list publication, follows States Members last year giving their backing to a proposal from Deputy Kirsten Morel - now an Assistant Economic Development Minister - to get the Government to 'put Jersey businesses first'.
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