Government outsourcing contracts ‘will just get nodded through’, say reports

FT claims centre too busy with Brexit to properly evaluate options for multiple service deals, many of which are IT-based

Posted 11 April 2017 at 9:22am by

Over 250 central government IT and business processing contracts that have come to end of contract are likely to simply be extended instead of looked at again, due to Whitehall being completely occupied by gearing up for Brexit.

A Financial Times story published yesterday behind its paywall quotes an unnamed government procurement source who revealed that contract renegotiations with big Systems Integrators have been pushed way down mandarin to-do list due to the need to cope with the ramifications of the UK leaving the European Union.

That means that often controversial arrangements critics say represent poor value for the taxpayer are likely to simply be waved through – possibly for years to come.

It also means that alternative forms of government procurement – symbolised by the work of the Government Digital Service and the whole raison d’être of The Digital Marketplace and G-Cloud – are likely to remain the poor cousin for sourcing technology for some time to come in the public sector.

Some press reports suggest that the situation is being made more complicated by tensions between those parts of the Whitehall machine tasked with reform and finding savings, like the Crown Commercial Service, and Ministers at the top of Departments more likely to want to simplify their lives by maintaining the status quo with big contracts.

Other voices are pointing out that outsourcing contracts that are delivering value should be allowed to continue, if that means a lack of disruption of service.

We’ll keep the situation monitored and report any more details as they come through on this situation, which could have a big impact on the kind of Digital Marketplace Contenders we regularly profile.