Commercial awareness courses for NI public sector staff

The importance of good commercial awareness cannot be over emphasised for public servants.

Construction & Procurement Delivery (CPD) is working in partnership with the Centre for Applied Learning (CAL) to provide four commercial awareness courses for staff working in the NI public sector.

Pre-market engagement 

Achieving value for money through a public sector contract is not just about evaluating tenders, or managing the contract effectively - the preparation you put in before beginning the procurement stage is vital. 

Pre-market engagement is the process of engaging with the supply market before the tender documents are published. This will help you understand what the market can currently offer, and the best approach to take. 

Attending the 'Pre-market Engagement' classroom course with CAL will help you understand what types of pre-market engagement are allowed under procurement regulations, and how to carry it out effectively.

Markets and commercial characteristics

Before you approach a procurement, it is important to understand your supply market, and be aware of any government policies which might impact on the procurement. 

Completing the 'Markets and Commercial Characteristics' eLearning course, will help you appreciate the private sector perspective on government contracts, and understand how to carry out an analysis on your supply market before beginning a procurement. 

The course will make you aware of how to prepare a contract to effectively manage risk and contractor performance; the various cost/pricing models which can be used; and when to prepare your exit strategy. 

Commercial contract management

In Northern Ireland the public sector spends more than £2.6bn each year on goods, services and works. Achieving value for money for the taxpayer, and ensuring that the supplier delivers the commitments within the contract is critical.

As the contract value, duration and risk increases, the importance of good contract management also increases.

Completing the 'Introduction to Contract Management' and 'Good practice in Contract Management' eLearning courses available through CAL will help you understand how to plan for good governance within a contract, managing your relationship with the contractor, measuring contractor performance, tackling poor performance, change during the duration of the contract, and developing market intelligence. 

These awareness courses cover all the key elements of the Good Practice Contract Management Framework published by the National Audit Office. 

Commercial negotiation

If you work in a contract management role, then some level of negotiation will be required with the contractor. Before beginning to negotiate, it is important to understand what is important to your contractor - by developing supplier and market intelligence. 

Attending the 'Commercial Negotiation' classroom training course with CAL will help you understand commercial drivers and levers in contracts, and how to find a balance in negotiations.

The trainer will help you understand how to prepare and carry out effective negotiation, whilst managing the relationship with the contractor.

If you wish to find out more information, contact the Centre for Applied Learning on 028 9054 1700 or nicshr.learninganddevelopment@finance-ni.gov.uk 

Test your commercial awareness to identify knowledge gaps

If you are unsure whether a commercial awareness course will be beneficial to you, why not try our commercial awareness quiz.

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