06 Feb 2018
Conflicting views continue to be expressed on the thorny issue of government IT procurement.
According to Niall Quinn, Technology Procurement Director at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the UK government’s Digital Marketplace, created to make government procurement easier, more transparent and accessible to SMEs, has resulted in a “major overhaul of the public sector procurement landscape, harnessing the expertise of innovative companies and giving thousands of SMEs the opportunity to supply to government for the first time.”
It is claimed that 48 per cent of the £3.2bn spent on government digital services now goes to SMEs – see Government Spend on Digital Services Passes £3bn Mark.
Technology SMEs, however, continue to complain about the lack of clarity in Digital Marketplace opportunities claiming that many tenders fail to adequately explain requirements. Written in unclear language, tenders are sometimes incomprehensible except to the incumbent supplier. This creates an unnecessary barrier for SMEs more than capable of undertaking these projects.
A new report, by industry trade body techUK, argues that a further step change in central government and wider public sector procurement is required to deliver the government’s digital transformation and growth commitments. With only 21 per cent of civil servants believing that there is an appetite within their department or organisation to increase the involvement of SMEs in the procurement chain, urgent action is required.