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Ministry of Defence Seeks Strategic Partnering Manager
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Ministry of Defence Seeks Strategic Partnering Manager

Government Commercial Function 3-5y Mid Level  England, United Kingdom 13 May 2019

Job Description

The Ministry of Defence seeks a

Strategic Partnering Manager

Role Summary: 

Strategic Partnering Management involves the creation and implementation of innovative and transformational approaches to working with strategic suppliers to government, driving excellence and outstanding performance through ever strengthening relationships.

This is a key commercial role within Central Government, and as such is employed within the Government Commercial Organisation (GCO), part of the Cabinet Office. GCO employees all work on assignment within departments across government.

This role will see you initially assigned to the Strategic Supplier Management team of the Ministry of Defence


London or Bristol with travel to various locations. Relocation costs will not be reimbursed.

Security Clearance:



This role is at Associate Commercial Specialist level with a pay scale of £65,000 to £96,909+ up to 15% performance-related-pay, GCO pension and GCO terms. Successful candidates that are existing Civil Servants will be:

  • offered a salary in line with the standard Civil Service rules on level transfer or promotion;
  • offered the choice between GCO terms, or Cabinet Office Civil Service terms if they prefer. In such instances the salary will be adjusted downwards to sit on the GCO Civil Service equivalent pay scale for ACS level which is £57,982 – £75,000.


As a valued employee of the Government Commercial Organisation (GCO), you will have access to all the benefits the centre has to offer; including flexible working, generous benefits, Career Coaches, Mentors, L&D, a Commercial College, active talent management and, most importantly, access to commercial projects that will far exceed the scale and complexity on offer elsewhere in the UK.

Please note that any move across the Civil Service on or after 4 October 2018 may have implications on an employee’s ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

Vacancy reference:

Civil Service Jobs Ref TBC

Reports to:

Jim Carter

Closing Date:


 The Role

“This is a hugely exciting time to be joining the Ministry of Defence Commercial team. Our programme to improve our strategic supplier management covers a hugely diverse and complex landscape reflecting c40% of Government’s overall spend. The opportunity to improve the value and performance of our relationships, join a new team, and to be part of a wider network of commercial partnering professionals is compelling. We are investing in our people and our processes, and the programme has the highest profile within our Modernising Defence agenda. Over the coming years you will help transform our most significant and important supplier relationships, delivering mutual benefit, and thereby making a genuine difference to the efficiency and effectiveness of U.K. Defence.”Jim Carter, Commercial Director, Supply Chain, MOD

The Strategic Partnering Manager (SPM) delivers the transformational relationship between a Strategic Supplier and Government/the MOD. The SPM’s ultimate objective is to deliver extraordinary performance for both the Government/MOD and the Supplier. This leadership will be performed from an in depth understanding and knowledge of the Supplier’s business model, and through a precise, disciplined and continuous application of this knowledge to the Government/MOD’s needs.

The SPM will coordinate the provision of Government/MOD resources to deliver continuously improving services in all areas where the Department contracts with the Supplier.

Key Accountabilities

Working in tandem with the MOD Relationship Lead, the SPM is required to develop and then execute the Government and Ministry of Defence strategy and plan with the Strategic Supplier, notably delivering:

  • The development of mutual value proposition in each key service area
  • The relationship map, from executive to operational levels
  • The performance standard setting and delivery monitoring
  • Support for key contract negotiations.

Success will lie in developing a truly strategic approach to the Strategic Supplier to transform the risk and value creation profile as follows:

  • Strategic risk management: continuity of mission critical and/or sensitive services; continuity of service for ‘sensitive’ operations; compliance and ethics; financial robustness; capability.
  • Strategic opportunity: quality of service; efficiency and cost savings, optimising tax payer value for money; end to end integrated supply chain between Government/MOD & Supplier(s); continuous improvement, innovation and best practice transfer.

Key Relationships

The SPM develops and coordinates extensive external and internal relationships.

  • External– Supplier’s senior leadership; leaders in the supplier organisations selected on their importance to the overall relationship performance; Supplier departments that support the end to end delivery of the service to the MOD.
  • Internal Leadership– Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office leadership; Top Level Budget owners and Commercial Directors; Key relationships with the Crown Representative who acts as advisor and sounding board and the MOD Relationship Lead.
  • Internal Organisation– Leaders and key operators involved in the relationship; key service area experts. As such, the SPM provides support, guidance and direction to a great multiplicity of other full or part time roles across the MOD.

The Opportunity

In return, as well as the generous benefits package on offer, and the career development and management support you receive through being part of the GCO, you will have the opportunity to take so much more from this role.

You will take on accountability on a grand scale, being responsible for the delivery and performance of some of the largest suppliers to the UK Government. Your level of impact, targets and measures of achievement compare to those of a CEO, with you delivering through the supplier’s business.

You will get to work with some of the most senior politicians, civil servants and industry leaders. The relationships and professional credibility you develop during this time, both within government and outside in the supplier market, will last throughout your career.

You will get insight and build knowledge and expertise into the way the MOD and government works, with a new experience and learning around every corner.

Finally, you will have the chance to work on high profile programmes and relationships, with the ability to make an impact on a significant scale, bringing benefits to the taxpayer and supporting the core role of the MOD.

The Person

You will have experience of leading strategic commercial relationships, performance and delivery at a senior level, in a complex and political stakeholder environment.

You may have many years of experience and for you this role would represent an opportunity to operate with a degree of autonomy not often found in large corporate organisations. You will have the chance to bring your experience and skills to bear, as the pinnacle of your career to date.

You may only have a few years in a senior role, but are senior nonetheless – a high achieving star performer, looking for the chance to consolidate your experience of strategic relationships and managing performance through commercial constructs with your next big move. You would find a platform in this role to take your credentials, network and impact to the next level.

You will need to be comfortable working at all levels within an organisation – from the strategic to the operational, and have the energy, motivation and drive to deliver outstanding results over the next few years as the transformation in performance you will drive begins to bear fruit.

You will thrive under the microscope, understanding the importance of performance measures and reporting – taking pride in your achievements and not shying away from the challenge. 

 Essential Criteria: To be successful, candidates will need to demonstrate capability against the following criteria:

  • Practice in business development including analysis, development and management of service areas value proposition, with evidence of continuing commitment to improving design and delivery.
  • Knowledge in complex commercial relationship management and contracting processes. A deep anchor in commercial with a track record of delivery in challenging commercial environments.
  • An experienced and successful leader, with outstanding relationship building and stakeholder management capabilities with suppliers, clients and colleagues alike.
  • A highly developed strategic thinker, yet with a history of operational delivery at senior levels;
  • A diplomat, with deep practice of “politics” in complex organisations
  • Applicants must have achieved an A or a B* at a GCF Assessment and Development Centre (ADC) or be willing** to attend an ADC.

Indicative Timeline

Please note that these dates are only indicative at this stage and could be subject to change. If you are unable to meet these time frames, please let us know in your application.

The anticipated timetable is as follows:

Advert Open & Close: 09/05/2019 – 20/06/2019

Sift Meeting: w/c 24th June

Assessment Centre: 12/07/19, 15/07/19 and 22/07/2019 (to be held in central London – please keep the date free)

Final Panel Interviews: 29/07/19 or 05/08/19 (to be held in xxxx – please keep the date free)

Anticipated Outcomes: 10/08/2019


Overview of the Process


The Government Commercial Function has its own professional standards framework and the recruitment process is based on this as well as the essential and desirable criteria for the role.

Your CV and statement of suitability will be assessed by the panel against the criteria for the role.  If the panel deems you have passed the sift on that basis, you will be invited to attend the commercial assessment centre.  After the assessment centre, the panel will consider all applicants who obtain either an A or B and decide who to put forward to a final panel interview.

The assessment centre and final panel will be held in Central London. You will be advised of the format in advance.

Candidates may have the opportunity to meet with the recruiting Line Manager to learn more about the role and the organisation, further detail of this will be confirmed with the applicant.

We regret that due to the volume of applicants, we are unable to provide feedback to candidates who do not get through the sift stage.

Welcome Message from Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer

Thank you for your interest in joining HM Government’s Commercial Function. Building a strong Commercial Function in Government, and with it, the right commercial capability is at the heart of a far-reaching programme of Civil Service Reform.

Creating the Commercial Function is the response to the challenges that Government has faced in recent times, and is an essential element of the Government’s efforts to address the value for money agenda, while delivering higher quality public services.

My vision is to make the Government’s Commercial Function the best in the UK: staffed with top commercial specialists, creating and managing innovative, efficient and effective commercial arrangements. This is an exciting and diverse environment – our procurements can range from £100k to multi-billion pound contracts; with annual spend on individual contracts often exceeding £500m. Our supply base includes SME’s and the largest multinationals; and our business models have the Government acting as shareholder or sponsor, as well as being an ‘intelligent client’.

We need to continue to improve our knowledge of the marketplace. We need to maximise value from our commercial dealings. We need senior commercial specialists across all Government Departments working collectively to address common ‘Crown’ objectives and acting as a single customer.

Government has recognised the crucial importance of building the senior leadership group within the Commercial Function; recognised as senior professionals, supported through ongoing specialised training and development, and encouraged to make personal progress. We need to build a cadre of commercial talent in all government departments; people who can manage our commercial portfolios, who can lead our most complex and novel programmes and projects, people who have the gravitas and depth of experience to work alongside our policy and operational leaders to develop innovative commercial arrangements, whether through joint ventures, outsourcing or best-in-class contracts.


Since Inception, the Commercial Recruitment Hub has successfully recruited over 400 commercial experts into a variety of government departments across our four senior grades.


I hope you will be inspired to join us and help lead the ongoing commercial reform agenda of the Civil Service. You won’t find a more exciting or diverse challenge elsewhere.

Background to the Commercial Function

The Civil Service is one of the biggest and most complex employers in the UK employing over 400,000 Civil Servants serving both Ministers and the public to deliver the priorities of the Government of the day. These include major projects with a lifecycle cost of around £500bn, as well as programmes and services that affect everyone in the United Kingdom. The annual spend is c. £45bn per annum with a range of suppliers including Small and Medium Enterprises.

Following issues with some major contracts and key suppliers, the Civil Service has committed itself to dramatically improving its commercial performance. This has included establishing a Commercial Function that will operate with, and in support of, departments. A senior Government Chief Commercial Officer was appointed from the private sector to head up the Commercial Function. This coincided with the first set of Commercial Standards published for Government in February 2016 and updated in November 2016, which we benchmark against.

Commercial resources are overseen by the function number some 4000 staff across Whitehall, and consists of:

  • A number of core interlocking central teams working together on Policy, Standards and Continuous Improvement, Complex Transactions, Markets and Suppliers (that will build pan-government relationships with key suppliers) and Commercial Capability
  • Colleagues in the Commercial Directorates within Departments and Agencies, and
  • The Crown Commercial Service, a trading fund sourcing common goods and services for the Civil Service and the Wider Public Sector

The Commercial Function is led by Gareth Rhys Williams, the Government Chief Commercial Officer (GCCO). He reports directly to the Chief Executive of the Civil Service, John Manzoni.

Additional Information

The information offered is supplied in good faith but does not in itself form any part of the contract of employment.

Eligibility: The post is advertised to suitably qualified people in the external market and on level transfer or promotion to existing Civil Servants and those in accredited Non Departmental Public Bodies.


Appointment Term: Applicants must have achieved an A or a B* at a GCF Assessment and Development Centre (ADC) or be willing** to attend an ADC.

* Those candidates with a B grade would only be eligible for appointment on a fixed term basis (for external candidates) or temporary promotion basis (for existing Civil Servants) until such time when they secure an A at the ADC, at which point they can be offered a permanent contract without further competition. ‘A’ grade candidates will be eligible for permanent appointments.

** For those who have already attended an ADC and not achieved an A or B, they must be eligible to re-sit (in line with re-assessment policy).

Arrangements for interview: Expenses incurred by candidates during the recruitment process will not be reimbursed by the Department except in exceptional circumstances and only when agreed in advance.

Working Arrangements: This role is available for full-time, part-time or flexible working arrangements (including job share arrangements).

Security Clearance:  This role requires Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) and either Counter Terrorism Check (CTC) or Security Check (SC) clearance. Information for candidates about security clearance can be found at:


Please note that CTC clearance would normally require 3 years’ UK residency in the past 3 years and SC clearance would normally require 5 years’ UK residency in the past 5 years.  This is not an absolute requirement but supplementary checks may be required where individuals have not lived in the UK for the required period. This may mean that your security clearance (and therefore your appointment) will take longer or, in some cases, not be possible.

Reserved for UK Nationals: Certain posts, notably those concerned with security and intelligence, might be reserved for British Citizens, but this will not normally prevent access to a wide range of developmental opportunities within the Civil Service.

This is not a reserved post.

Conflicts of Interest: Candidates must note the requirement to declare any interests they may have that might cause questions to be raised about their approach to the business of the Department. They are required to declare any relevant business interests, shareholdings, positions of authority, retainers, consultancy arrangements or other connections with commercial, public or voluntary bodies, both for themselves and for their spouses/partners.


The successful candidate will be required to give up any conflicting interests and his/her other business and financial interests may be published.


Equality and Diversity: The Government Commercial Function is committed to being an equal opportunities employer. We value and welcome diversity. We aim to develop all our staff to enable them to make a full contribution to meeting our objectives and to fulfil their own potential on merit. We will not tolerate harassment or other unfair discrimination on grounds of sex, marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, disability, age, religion or sexual orientation. We will promote and support the use of a range of flexible working patterns to enable staff to balance home and work responsibilities; we will treat people fairly irrespective of their working arrangements.


Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, we are legally required to consider making reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled people are not disadvantaged in the recruitment and selection process. We are therefore committed to meeting, wherever possible, any needs you specify in your application. We will also consider any reasonable adjustments under the terms of the Act to enable any applicant with a disability (as defined under the Act) to meet the requirements of the post.


The Government Commercial Function offers a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for all disabled applicants. We are committed to interviewing all applicants with a disability who provide evidence of meeting the minimum requirements necessary for the post, as set out in this applicant pack.


To be eligible, your disability must be within the definition laid down in the Equality Act 2010. A disabled person is defined by the Equality Act 2010 as someone who has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities. For the purposes of this policy, these words have the following meanings:

  • ‘Substantial’ means more than minor or trivial
  • ‘Long-term’ means that the effect of the impairment has lasted, or is likely to last, 12 months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions)
  • ‘Normal day-to-day activities’ include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.

Should you consider yourself eligible to apply for this post under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme, please complete the relevant section during the application process.

Civil Service Code: All Civil Servants are subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Code that details the Civil Service values, standards of behaviour and rights and responsibilities. For further information visit Gov.UK.

Civil Service Recruitment Principles:  The Government Commercial Function’s recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as described in the Civil Service Commission Recruitment Principles.

More detailed information can be found on the Civil Service Commission website: http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk.

Complaints: If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles, and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact Helen Mallison (helen.mallison@cabinetoffice.gov.uk) in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Civil Service Commission via the following web page: http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk/civil-service-recruitment/complaints/.

Reserve Lists: If we receive applications from more suitable candidates than we have vacancies for at this time, we may hold suitable applicants on a reserve list for 12 months, and future vacancies in the Civil Service requiring the same skills and experience could be offered to candidates on the reserve list without a new competition.

Line Manager Notification: For internal candidates we strongly recommend that you advise your Line Manager of your application, particularly if you get to assessment centre stage.  Previous candidates have found it helpful to discuss the ADC outcome report with their Line Manager and seek their support on areas for development.

Alternative Formats: If you wish to receive a hard copy of the information, or in an alternative format e.g. Audio, Braille or large font then please contact: commercialresourcinghub@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

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