One of the many oddities emerging from the Greensill Capital scandal is the role of what are so grandly titled Crown Representatives. 

These are individuals recruited by the civil service on a part-time basis for two days a week, paid £500 a day and required to join the Commercial Relationships Board when it meets every six weeks.

They are given passes and security clearance, giving them full access to Westminster and Whitehall, and useful calling cards to give out to those they want to impress.

The Hound checked with the Cabinet Office to discover what they may or may not do alongside their civil service role. A spokesman said they may continue working in the private or charity sector, or wherever else they are chosen from, so long as that work does not have any proprietary conflicts with the government sector they are attached to.

Lex Greensill was himself made a Crown Representative, appointed on 4 March 2014, with a group of five others from their areas of expertise in – according to the government press release issued at the time – “high-level consultancy, banking and telecommunications.”

The press release noted that “Lex is the Chief Executive of Greensill Capital and a Trustee of the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra, before that, he was a managing director of Citibank and Head of their Europe, Middle East & Africa Supply Chain Finance business.”

A year after Greensill became a Crown Representative, Bill Crothers, the government’s then chief procurement officer, joined the Australian financier’s firm on a part-time basis while still working for the civil service. He left in 2015 to join Greensill as a vice-president. 

So who are these royally named creatures free to roam the corridors of power? And what do they actually do? The title might sound grand but they are in fact supplier relationship managers, directed to certain industries and businesses to help negotiate contracts. Yet they are still allowed to retain private outside positions.

The Crown Representatives network was set up by Lord Maude in 2011, as part of the then Cabinet Office minister’s drive to improve efficiency in government procurement and supply. According to the government’s own website, the ambition was to save hundreds of millions of pounds in savings “by engaging with potential and existing government suppliers on behalf of the taxpayer. (Maude went on to set up his own consultancy business, Francis Maude Associates, which advised governments on saving costs on procurement.)

The website even boasts that: “In 2012, a Crown Representative working with HMRC helped negotiate a new deal with one of the government’s largest IT suppliers that will save an estimated £200 million by 2017.”

Crothers – who himself had been a Crown Representative at the Home Office before joining full time as procurement officer – said on another occasion:  “Our Crown Representatives are bringing in top business acumen into Whitehall – our procurement reforms saved £3.8 billion last year and we want to go even further.”

The network sits within the newly created Crown Commercial Service which provides business expertise and manages the buying of common goods and services across the public sector, allowing departments to focus on procurements that are unique to them, like tanks, roads or social care.

What started out as a forward- looking experiment to bring in private sector expertise has now been shown to carry the risk of creating conflicts, as the Greensill affair demonstrates. 

Here is a list of all the current Crown Representatives:

Strategic Suppliers Crown Representatives

Accenture – Nick Griffin

Amey – Boris Adlam

Atkins – Ann Pedder

Atos – Beverley Tew

AWS – Jay Chinnadorai

Babcock – Luc Bardin

Balfour Beatty – Mervyn Greer

BT – Sean Collins

Capgemini – Nick Griffin

Capita – Meryl Bushell

CGI – Beverley Tew

Computacenter – Lan O’Connor

Deloitte – Boris Adlam

DXC – Vincent Kelly

Engie – Jane Bristow

EY – Nick Griffin

Fujitsu – Meryl Bushell

G4S – Ann Pedder

IBM – Lan O’Connor

Interserve – Phil Brookes

ISS – Jane Bristow

Jacobs – Sir Robert Walmsley

KBR – Robin Hughes

Kier – Boris Adlam

KPMG – Nick Griffin

Laing O’Rourke – Phil Brookes

Leidos – Joanne Thompson

Microsoft – Myron Hrycyk

Mitie – Robin Hughes

Motorola – Meryl Bushell

Mott Macdonald – Ann Pedder

Oracle – Myron Hrycyk

PWC – Nick Griffin

Serco – Paul Jaques

Sodexo – Mervyn Greer

Sopra Steria – Lan O’Connor

Virgin Media – Vincent Kelly

Vodafone – Jay Chinnadorai

Below is a list of the Crown Representatives and the sectors they work with.

Sector Crown Representatives

LGA – Mervyn Greer

SME – Martin Traynor

Energy – Daniel Green

VCSE – Claire Dove

Insurance and Risk Management – Julia Graham