45,216 orders for work got placed by central government last year, with a total of £93bn being awarded to over 45,000 suppliers by 2,076 UK public sector bodies. And with news that will, sadly, probably shock none of us, the share of all the work won by SMEs remains very low, at 12% – well over the stated aim of one in every three pounds going to such suppliers.
The data comes from public sector information tracker Tussell, and was published at the end of the year. It also confirms that it’s the wider public sector that places the most contract, not the main Departments (with HMG responsible for 43% of all the work).
The data also shows that MoD remains the biggest placer of contracts in Whitehall, awarding 16% (or £93bn) of that total, followed by social housing giant Peabody at £8bn.
In terms of technology, AI (Artificial Intelligence) seems to be the advanced tech of most interests, with 43 contracts in the area being awarded. Overall, Tussell’s number crunchers say work on “advanced technologies” doubled in the twelve months in question, up to 103.
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Founded in 2015 to fill a gap in the market for the provision of useful and reliable information on what the government is purchasing, Tussell aims to bring clarity and context to a “previously opaque market” that accounts for around 10% of UK GDP.
And the report ends with some good news: the incoming government’s promised end of austerity implies that the market is set to rise in 2020, though the group thinks that outsourcing may struggle to shake off the negative PR impact of the collapse of Carillion. Another factor driving more opportunity is that at least £20bn of contracts are set to expire this year.
Go here to check out the report, which is nicely presented as an infographic – and good luck with all your endeavours, be that as buyer or seller, in the UK digital economy this year!