Crown Commercial Service
Printable version

Commercial Insider: Clemmie Smith, Deputy Director for Health and Education Workforce at Crown Commercial Service

Commercial Insider is a series of interviews with procurement experts from across Crown Commercial Service.

Clemmie Smith is Deputy Director for Health and Education Workforce at Crown Commercial Service (CCS), with responsibility for workforce requirements relating to recruitment, flexible and temporary staffing in healthcare and education settings. 

Together with her team, Clemmie helps to manage £2 billion of workforce spend each year for the NHS, schools and other public sector organisations. 

Before joining CCS in 2016, she worked in a number of strategic and collaborative procurement roles within the public sector. This included roles in local government, central government and bluelight and the university and cultural sector. 

Clemmie has covered multiple categories, from fleet to facilities management to library services, but more recently focusing on workforce and people services.

Interview text  

Please tell us about Crown Commercial Service and your role within the organisation

CCS is an incredibly interesting place to work and a hugely important part of the public sector procurement landscape. Last year CCS helped the public sector achieve commercial benefits of almost £3 billion pounds and this is growing every year.

I joined CCS 6 years ago to work in the Health Workforce category and 2 years ago I took on the Deputy Director role across Health and Education Workforce. The team is a large one, with a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience. It has been a critical period for workforce in both the NHS and in schools. My team is working closely with organisations across these sectors. We support their recruitment and flexible and temporary staffing needs so that they can deliver for patients, pupils and the public. 

Working with partners in both health (as part of the NHS Workforce Alliance) and education, we helped achieve £220 million pounds of commercial benefits for our customers last year, across 7 core frameworks. 

What is CCS doing to make it easier for customers to use agreements? How have you listened to customers? 

We are always looking at ways we can make our agreements easier for customers to use. We have lots of networks and channels, through which we gather feedback from NHS Trusts, other health organisations and schools. 

In health, we have been working with our partners in the NHS Workforce Alliance to streamline framework documentation across our agreements. This is in direct response to feedback received from customers. We have also been working on a new approach that will allow us to automate some of our sign-up and call-off processes via a digital portal.

In education, the team has worked hard to make things as easy as possible for schools to access workers through our Supply Teachers and Temporary Staffing agreement. We’ve developed a digital tool that allows schools to search local agencies and rates and we have simplified the call-off documentation.

What are you and your team working on at the moment?

My team and I are working on a whole host of activities. From providing our procurement pipeline to engaging with customers and policy makers on how commercial can enable provision of key health and education priorities.

The NHS Workforce Alliance is currently bringing its second generation of health workforce agreements to market, covering a workforce portfolio that will support the full ‘hire-to-retire’ cycle. This includes key agreements for international recruitment, flexible or bank staffing and agency staffing, alongside existing solutions for employee support services like occupational health and learning and development.

What is your focus for 2022 and beyond?

We know that the next year and beyond will be a difficult period for both health and education organisations in managing their budgets, when workforce challenges are growing. My team, alongside our partners, is focused on how we can work with those organisations to alleviate some of these challenges.

We have solutions and commercial expertise that can support key Government priorities such as recruiting new clinical workers into the NHS and clearing the NHS elective backlog. 4,000 new clinical staff were recruited across 80 Trusts last year via our Workforce Alliance International Recruitment agreement. We expect that number to be even higher this year. 

We have also introduced a new Clinical Insourcing agreement, which enables NHS Trusts to use partners to provide services on their sites out-of-hours to increase capacity and help clear waiting lists.

How do you and your team ensure that you’re maximising commercial value and ensuring quality is at the forefront?

In the health and education workforce category it is absolutely critical to keep a dual focus on value and quality. Through our solutions, we bring considerable commercial value, using our aggregated strength to control rates in markets that have been benchmarked as having particularly high mark-ups off-framework. 

Health organisations and schools can use our agreements in the knowledge that they will pay lower rates than off-framework and that we will work with them to bring these down even more through further competitions and supplier management.

Alongside this, we do significant work around worker compliance to support the provision of appropriately-qualified, experienced and vetted workers into schools and hospitals. 

How are you and your team helping customers to make responsible decisions about sustainability and social value? 

My team and I have sustainability and social value as core priorities in all the work we do. Social value is built into all of our new agreements, with a key focus on the fighting climate change theme that has been prioritised by the NHS. This means that suppliers are being measured on their social value contributions as part of the tender process, but also that we have built social value into ongoing supplier relationship management activity. We then work with customers to help them shape their own social value goals by providing examples and case studies from across CCS.

How is your team investing in / improving commercial capability for our customers? 

My team and the wider organisation is investing in commercial capability in many ways. At a local level, the Health and Education Workforce team and its partners run regular customer webinars and events. We share knowledge and insight on a range of topics, from social value to international recruitment, clinical insourcing and IR35.

As part of CCS’s Health Leadership Group, we have also been working more broadly on how we can support the health sector in the development of commercial capability. One way we have already done this is through investment in the Atamis eCommerce roll-out to the NHS. Working with DHSC and NHS England, we’re providing funding for licences for all Trusts, ICSs and other NHS organisations to accelerate use of the procurement and tendering platform across the health service.


Channel website:

Original article link:

Share this article

Latest News from
Crown Commercial Service