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Maria Huggon, Former Group Director of Commercial Services at the Government of Jersey, discusses how the procurement function has transformed.

The Government of Jersey has had quite the procurement transformation journey.

Jersey is a British Island within the UK Common Travel Area and is located 85 miles (137km) from mainland Britain and just 15 miles (22kms) from the coast of France. Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands at nine miles by five miles (14.5kms by 8kms) with a permanent population of circa 100,000 people.

Starting a Procurement Transformation

Given its size, the focus and scrutiny across the government’s expenditure is significant, every pound of public money spent counts. Maria Huggon served as Group Director of Commercial Services at the Government of Jersey until August 2023. Originally from England, Maria reflects on the considerations of operating in Jersey compared to a larger jurisdiction like France. “Across many levels, you can personally make a real difference quite quickly,” she explains. “Whereas in larger jurisdictions, that may take longer to materialise, our size enables us to move at pace.”

Over the past few years, procurement has seen such transformation that today it looks completely unrecognisable from a decade ago. Though for some procurement professionals, the space can appear daunting while being exciting and brimming with opportunities for others. Or in the case of executives like Huggon – a bit of both in equal measure.

“The world of procurement can provide such a diverse range of opportunities. More recently, the recipe for strong procurement professionals incorporate most of your store cupboard skills from; strategic thinking, creative financial, legal and commercial contractual management, authentic partnering and relationship management, subject matter expertise through to supply chain analysis and project management, why would you not want to be part of this incredibly talented community?” she explains.

“The core reason I moved was the allure to be able to make a difference, whether it’s for citizens, who depend on our public services or internal customers, whilst we are not physically on the frontline e.g. in the operating theatre, on an emergency call outs, operating the Sewage Treatment Works plant or in the community’s social care appointments, we are supporting and enabling our colleagues to focus on their roles and delivering the excellent services they do. It is truly heartwarming and, of course not without challenge.”

Inside Jersey

Jersey is regarded as a beautiful island with a wealth of history from both a geological and political perspective. The archipelagos of the Ecrehous and the Minquiers are short rib rides away, providing idyllic landscapes complemented by diverse marine wildlife.  Jersey also boasts a neolithic passage grave as one of the 10 oldest buildings in the world. While Jersey is home to the international charity ‘The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’, headquartered at Jersey Zoo. Jersey and mainland Britain have deep social, cultural, economic, and constitutional links, these have been built and maintained between the two jurisdictions over hundreds of years. Constitutionally, Jersey is classified as a Crown Dependency, since the island’s relationship stems from the sovereignty of the British Crown. In practice, this gives the island constitutional rights of self-government and judicial independence.

Read the full story of the Government of Jersey’s procurement transformation here.

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