May 10, 2023

October 20, 2023

Transforming Crown Commercial Service Guidance

Employing a user-centred and design-driven approach to enhance the Crown Commercial Service’s guidance to public sector buyers

Commercial, Spend & Impact


The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) undertook a major content transformation initiative. Their goal was to provide accessible, user-friendly guidance to public sector buyers utilising CCS agreements. However, achieving this goal called for addressing the intricate needs and expectations of a diverse user base while adhering to evolving standards and best practices.


We deployed a holistic and user-centred approach to deliver on the goals of this project, involving:

  1. User-centred interviews: Over 40 semi-structured one-on-one interviews were conducted with Commercial Agreement Managers and public sector buyers. These interviews were tailored to each user group, allowing for deep insights into their specific needs and challenges.
  2. Data collation and codification: The data collected from interviews was meticulously collated and codified. This process resulted in a comprehensive list of user needs related to the creation and utilisation of guidance documents.
  3. Requirement prioritisation: Translating the user needs into action, a set of over 50 prioritised requirements was established. These requirements were then presented to the CCS content team, laying the foundation for transformation and change.
  4. New guidance templates: Based on these requirements, a fresh set of guidance templates was co-designed with users. These templates became the cornerstone for the redevelopment of over 100 CCS agreement guidance documents.


The impact of this initiative was significant, leading to the creation of guidance that were not only more accessible but also better aligned with user expectations. By iterating on templates and applying best practices, these documents were bought in line with GDS content design guidance, content design principles, and WCAG 2.1 standards. The CCS Content Improvement Solution has ushered in a new era of user-friendly guidance, enhancing the experience of public sector buyers and aligning CCS documents with modern best practices.


Photo by the author

Leyre Villaizan

Senior Associate

Photo by the author

Johnny Hugill

Director of Commercial, Spend & Impact

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