Last week techUK hosted a ‘meet the directors’ briefing with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) tech pillar. A packed room of public sector ICT suppliers had the opportunity to hear about the work of the strategic category teams within the CCS Tech Pillar: Digital Future, Technology Products & Services, Network Services and Software. There was also a robust question and answer session with Niall Quinn, Director Technology Strategic Category and his Senior Leadership Team.
The briefing began with an overview of the work CCS has been undertaking over the past 12 months helping ICT suppliers access government technology contracts. Suppliers were updated on the ongoing partnership work between techUK and CCS supporting suppliers (particularly SMEs) to gain a deeper understanding of how to win business and provide technology services to government.
Suppliers were also updated on the role and strategy of the tech category, and how it provides commercial expertise to enable delivery of the Government IT Transformation Strategy and the Digital by Default agenda. It was encouraging to hear about the strategic focus on supporting the cultural and commercial transformation of government - including products and services from Legacy IT (on premise) being Digitalised (in the cloud). Suppliers were also very receptive to the ambition and plans of CCS to meet the government’s manifesto target of 33% of central government spend going to SMEs.
The view from suppliers
During the question and answer session a broad range of issues were highlighted including:
• Suppliers were encouraged by the engagement that has taken place throughout 2017, particularly the framework briefings held in partnership with techUK. However, this engagement must continue in a planned and strategic way throughout 2018, with clear timescales published on planned engagement
• Many SMEs highlighted the positive attributes of certain frameworks such as G- Cloud. There needs to be greater use of these frameworks across central government and the wider public sector to enable SMEs to gain a greater foothold in the public sector market
• Although the feedback was broadly positive about the engagement on the specific frameworks, a number of suppliers highlighted the lack of communication and engagement around the extension of G- Cloud for up to 12 months, and the negative impact this will have on new suppliers wanting to provide to the public sector.
In summary, it was a great event and a good end to the year for the engagement techUK has had with CCS and I look forward to building on this engagement throughout 2018. There is still much work to do – and if CCS is serious about reaching the objectives of 33 percent of central government spend going to SMEs, and expanding use of frameworks across the wider public sector, we need improved communication and engagement between the tech industry and government. On G- Cloud specifically, it is imperative that an update is provided to the tech market on this ASAP via techUK. I look forward to ongoing partnership work with CCS, departments and the wider public sector to deliver these objectives.
Please do get in contact if you want any more information on anything covered above, or if you would like to join techUK’s Public Sector Procurement Working Group.