GDS: ‘It’s time for open procurement to deliver digital government’

‘We need a step change in public procurement and contracting’ to get there, says the Service – which has set up a special one-day event to try and figure out how

Posted 17 August 2017 by

ICT procurement reform has become a major focus for the Government Digital Service (GDS), which says a new way of sourcing tech needs to come through as we move away from the traditional approach.

To help, the Service has announced an open day in partnership with the Crown Commercial Service and incubator Digital Catapult.

Set to take place on September 11, the ideas is to explore ideas to help achieve what the Director of the Digital Marketplace, Warren Smith, says has to be a “step change in public procurement and contracting”.

The event will incorporate short presentations, followed by hack-style sessions, says GDS, and there’s no pre-set agenda, with attendees encouraged to “shape the day” together.

“We want to realise the vision for a digital government, a Brilliant Civil Service, and to create a vibrant, diverse economy of digital and technology suppliers,” he writes this week in a blog on the GDS home page.

“We want to remove as much friction as we can from the procurement and contracting process [which] will attract the right suppliers,” he adds.

By ‘right suppliers’, Smith means firms “who work in the right ways, with the right products, services and skills” – a combination he says enables the public sector and the vendor community can deliver successful public sector programmes and projects together.

Smith says is working on a set of ideas that include

  • opening up data throughout the procurement and contracting lifecycle
  • encouraging more modular and agile approaches to contracting
  • procurement transparency to help tackle corruption and improve value for money
  • stimulating and accessing a more diverse digital and technology supply base
  • encouraging more flexible, digital, agile and transparent interactions focused on joint delivery
  • sharing and reusing platforms and components, and better practices for delivering successful programmes.

GDS says it wants to hear from suppliers to find out what’s most important to you and “the things that aren’t working so well”, and we encourage public sector IT suppliers to find out more about the event here.

The route to digital government will also be the main theme of a conference four days after the GDS procurement open day – Think Digital Government 2017.

There, suppliers and buyers of tech ICT goods and service alike are gathering to debate the kinds of issues Smith wants opened up – maybe worth timetabling both?