Baachu Talk Podcast

Showcasing the human leadership stories behind UK public and business services

Part of 18-24 May 2020, mental health week kindness theme, I shared my kindness stories

I then reached out to few industry leaders to share their kindness story, Baachu Talk Podcast was born 1st June. I noticed everyone has different views and priorities, differences aside they all want the best for the country.

This podcast is my little part to showcase human leadership behind our public services (private, public, tech, third sector) and enable us to come together and kickstart a concerted effort to maintain and build on this – ‘Together’.

I personally invite you to listen to Baachu Talk.



Baskar Sundaram

Today's guest is Samantha Ulyatt

Sam has over 20 years’ experience working in procurement or commercial roles across several industries and has worked for Ciba Geigy, Astra Zeneca, EON, United Utilities and Babcock International. She has focused her spend area across infrastructure programmes and projects and has a passion for leading workable commercial solutions whilst upskilling and allowing people to reach their full potential. Sam joined the civil service in 2016 and will be leaving her role in Crown Commercial Service (CCS) at the end of June, where she has led the Buildings pillar which incorporates FM, Property, Ancillaries and Utilities & Fuel. She has introduced category strategies to a cross government initiative and more recently led the procurement of the largest construction framework which has addressed many of the sector leading principles and managed an annual spend portfolio of £3bn. She will take up the position of Chief Commercial officer for the Home Office and will be based in Manchester. In this role she will seek to provide an excellent commercial service across the Home Office. Sam lives in Cheshire with her family and enjoys walking especially with her dog. During the lockdown period she has managed to run and reach the distance of 10k, something she never thought she would be able to.

In this episode, we will discuss Samantha’s

  • Early life and education 
  • First Job 
  • Industry Experience – Ciba Geigy, Astra Zeneca, EON, United Utilities and Babcock International
  • Crown Commercial Service Director Role
  • CCS Buildings category team
  • Views on engagement with supply chain
  • Views on Role of Crown Commercial Service in UK
  • Views on UK Government Spend
  • CCS Facilities Management and Construction Frameworks
  • CCS colloboration with other public bodies
  • CCS response to Covid19
  • Suggested resources for commissioners
  • Key achievements 
  • 3 things not many people know about her 
  • Advice to people wanting to pursue career 
  • One thing she wish she had known early in his career
  • One kind or thoughtful thing someone did to her
  • Kindest person she knows
  • Influential people in her life and career
  • Her next role – Chief Commercial Officer, Home Office

Few random questions

  • What are your hobbies and interests outside work?
  • If you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
  • As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
  • What movie or book character are you most like?
  • What is something you have that is of sentimental value?
  • Who haven’t you seen or talked to in a long time and hope they are doing okay?
  • Name one thing that drives you crazy?
  • Are you a morning or night person?
  • Who is the kindest person you know?
  • Have you cried watching a movie?
  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  • When you are having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
  • If you could be anywhere else right now, where would it be?
  • What have you observed lately (Covid-19) that reminded you that people are kind?

Key Nuggets

  • Strongly recommend apprenticeships
  • I consciously chose procurement as my career
  • Really interest in legality and fairness – those two foundations makes you good procurement person
  • Procurement could be prescriptive – I am not advocate of we have to fix everything ourself
  • Colloboration of disciplines is critical in procurement initiatives
  • Best contracts have allowed the supply chain to innovate
  • Definition for fit for purpose and reminding what it means is important
  • Teams that brings difference absolutely end up with better results
  • Great procurement professionals make the “after” photograph
  • Civil service values hugely resonates with me
  • Civil service is the constant, they absolutely work tirelessly
  • Brought buildings category identity, purpose and joined it up with wider crown commercial services
  • There are 4 pillars inside Crown Commercial Services
  • CCS supports all 18 government departments
  • Social value becoming far more prominent in all our procurements
  • CCS manages £18bn of the £90bn Common Goods & Services spend in Government
  • Next generation FM Marketplace is now looked at and we have started market engagement
  • £30bn Construction framework from the embryo we have built on
  • I am really proud that the first award in the framework was awarded to SME
  • Buildings category consists of 120 team members
  • Whats really important is how we bring the suppliers together?
  • We do view the mirror on ourself frequently
  • Government sometimes is criticised the same supplier is operating differently across different sectors
  • CCS is far more customer centric and has a great customer service centre, its a good place to call and ask questions about procurement
  • Each product that is built has a business case before the product goes for OJEU
  • We are really supportive of SMEs and received guidance from Claire Dove OBE, VCSE Crown Rep
  • Outsourcing playbook principles is integrated and built into our business cases. Also in our gateway process playbook Qs are asked
  • There is a covid19 catalogue available in CCS framework
  • My honest first thought was we have to make everyone safe
  • First 6 weeks of covid19 was relentless
  • Daily calls to management team checking everyone was safe
  • What I saw was an organisation which had the right equipment to lean in
  • Best of human beings is coming out
  • I swimmed for cheshire
  • She tried or she cared
  • What matters to me most is the safety of family
  • Being at home and being safe is important
  • Pie specialist
  • Everyone across the world to be peace with one another
  • To live a world where we all respect the differences and love each other
  • Good cry is good for you sometimes
  • I am straight talking
  • Know yourself, like yourself and be true to yourself
  • Its humbling to look back on your life

Get to know Samantha Ulyatt, UKs leading commercial civil servant.

Contact Sam

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