Lifetime of Achievement: Jacqui Rock

NHS England’s Chief Commercial Officer was considered a driving force behind innovation and technology development in the supply chain of Test and Trace

Jacqui Rock has been at the commercial heart of both the UK Government and one of the nation’s most cherished institutions, the NHS, for the past four years.

As Chief Commercial Officer at NHS England, Rock leads a national team of commercial and estates professionals to build a world-class commercial function for the UK health system.

Crucially, she was considered a driving force behind innovation and technology development in the supply chain of NHS Test and Trace, a programme established by the UK Government during the pandemic in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Prior to moving into public service, Rock spent three decades in financial services, taking up executive positions with major players including Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Barclays. It wasn’t until she joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2009 that her work developed more of a procurement and supply chain feel. 

Having successfully looked after a budget of US$22bn, Rock opted for a change of tack when she became Commercial Director for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation at the Ministry of Defence (MoD). She was also a member of the Cabinet Office Commercial Function, a cross-government network procuring goods and services. 

Rock’s move into healthcare came about in 2020 when she was appointed Chief Commercial Officer, Head of Corporate Services and Transition Director at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which prevents, prepares for and responds to infectious diseases and environmental hazards to keep communities safe.

At the heart of change in procurement and supply chain

Rock, who recently came in at Number 1 on Supply Chain Digital’s Top 100 Women in Supply Chain list, is well placed to comment on some significant evolutions within the supply chain and procurement functions at major UK organisations. 

She witnessed the aftermath of the formation of the Government Commercial Function (GCF) in 2015, introduced with the aim of improving the commercial capabilities of the Civil Service.

“It marked a step change,” says Rock. “The ambition of the GCF is to make significant savings for the taxpayer and deliver improved public services, while supporting its people to develop the knowledge and skills needed to compete successfully in commercial environments on behalf of the government.”

Another key moment was the Carter Review of Operational Productivity across various NHS providers, which resulted in 15 key recommendations aimed at boosting efficiency within the health service. 

“Findings in the review changed the way we work and have been key in informing the future ambitions of NHS Commercial,” Rock adds.     

Passing on lessons to the next generation

Reflecting on a long career of many highs, Rock is delighted with the manner in which she has been able to move relatively seamlessly between sectors and organisations, starting with her transition from financial services to the MoD. 

The procurement and supply chain leader also takes great pride in the fact she has not only learned lessons from a host of “fantastic colleagues” over the years, but has also helped nurture the next generation of talent. 

“I’ve met some incredible people over the years,” Rock goes on. “It’s always wonderful to learn from others, but also to share personal lessons learned and experiences with those keen to progress in commercial careers.” 

Shifting focus to her current role, Rock is simply excited to continue making a difference in commercial practice. 

“We’ve introduced the Central Commercial Function, the efficiencies programme and the Strategic Framework for NHS Commercial,” she concludes. “We’re really starting to move the dial on commercial capability and the way we work. This will make a huge difference to our people, to patients and to the taxpayer.”

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