The government has hired six private sector leaders to help it make the most of public sector contracts. New hires will focus on engaging with suppliers, negotiating for low contracted rates, and building business-to-business relationships.

Among these new hires is Ian Tyler, former chief executive of Balfour Beatty, James Hall, of Accenture and former overseer of the Home Office’s Identity and Passport Service, and previous head of commercial contracting for HP, Graham Jackson. Imperial Tobacco’s David Jephson, Rob Wilmot of Freeserve, and Michael Wade, who previously worked in the insurance sector, have been recruited by the government as well.

Francis Maude, minister of the Cabinet Office, says the six now have a “big job ahead of them”. He justified the new recruits by saying: “We’re serious about equipping the civil service with the right skills to help the UK compete in the global race. That’s why we’ve recruited experts from the business world, using their commercial insight to work alongside departments to get the most from relationships with our largest suppliers.”

High expectations are in place for the newly appointed business leaders. They are meant to build on the £800 million the government claims to have already saved on contracts with the public sector. In addition, taxpayers’ money is being better utilised. The new hires will need to work on streamlining cash flow and funding for projects even more in the future.

Chief procurement officer and leader of the crown representatives, Bill Crothers, knows exactly how to approach the job. “We know we can only drive efficiencies if we act as a single customer to maximise our buying power and be a better client,” he said.

The new recruits may be faced with a difficult task, but they’re being well compensated for their expertise. Crown representatives will be paid about £500 a day to work on strengthening and streamlining the supply chain.

Founded two years ago, the crown representative network has attempted to cut costs and arrange efficient procurement across all departments since its initial launch. The job’s not easy, but it reaps big dividends for the government. Strengthening the supply chain and ironing out any snags in the system can and has saved millions of pounds.