techUK's vertical and cross-sector programmes provide an excellent route for SMEs to gain market insight and access.

techUK's SME members are engaged in the full range of our market focused programmes. SMEs engage in our programmes to get a better insight on the issues driving their markets and the factors shaping the decision-making of their customers, competitors and potential partners.

Public Sector

The coalition government has set out a clear aspiration for 25% of all procurement spend - directly and in the supply chain - to go to SMEs by the end of this Parliament. techUK is very supportive of the SME programme. Whilst the 25% contracts by value aspiration is ambitious, techUK is encouraged by government's willingness to tackle some of the challenges needed to achieve this, particularly procurement reform which would make it much easier for SMEs to bid for government business.

techUK works with SMEs across central and local government to help them understand and do business with government. techUK's programmes provide opportunities for structured engagement with decision makers across central and local government. techUK provides a wide variety of highly focused meetings and events with the key decision makers leading a wide variety of procurement projects across government. techUK helps suppliers understand procurement requirements and procurers to understand more about what the market can deliver with the ultimate objective of ensuring strong beneficial outcomes for the public sector.

Our events are not only London based. Our SME Town Hall events, held across the UK in partnership with the Cabinet Office allow opportunities for small businesses to share views and experience directly to the Crown Representative for SMEs and also hear from departments on future business oppiortunities for SMEs.

techUK's Local Government Group also meets around the countrry to provide opportunities to discuss with with local authorities how technology will be a key enabler to drive improvements in service delivery, rationalise services and streamlines processes. 

Concept Viability

The Office of Government Commerce and the National Audit Office recommends the early involvement of suppliers in the development of technology enabled business change projects in the public sector and techUK has developed its Concept Viability service to support this requirement.

One of the key challenges facing the public sector is how to transform policy ideas into the desired outcomes, particularly when this involves IT-enables business change. Concepts that appear straightforward on paper can be extremely difficult/risky to execute, especially then the technology is new or emerging, or when transaction volumes are high. Concepts that are not technically feasible, are flawed or high-risk will be identified as such at an early stage, thereby informing the client of these pitfalls before investment has been made in the concept, thereby helping to shape the procurement market.

Since it was launched Concept Viability has been used on around 120 projects and programmes by central government, local government and other public bodies. Concept Viability allows public sector customers to have a two-way dialogue with the tech market; and provides suppliers with an opportunity to help shape and validate ideas, plans and requirements. The process takes place within a safe and neutral environment, which helps customers assess the opportunities and risks associated with specific projects before committing themselves to a particular approach.

Concept Viability was referenced as an example of good practice in the Public Accounts Committee's conclusions and recommendations on 'Delivering successful IT-enabled business change' (report, see page 5).

Benefits of Concept Viability for customers

  • Provides a one-to-many engagement with a broad range of technology companies, including SMEs and larger more established suppliers.
  • Raises the profile of the procurement opportunity to a more diverse supplier base.
  • Helps customers understand how the market can help contribute to solutions, and where there are opportunities to exploit innovation.
  • Provides early visibility of risks and challenges before investment has been made.
  • Allows the pros and cons of different technical, commercial and delivery approaches to be explored.
  • Demonstrates a mature procurement approach.

Benefits of Concept Viability for suppliers

  • Provides early insight into business opportunities and the strategic drivers behind them.
  • Issues or concerns can be raised without companies feeling their position in the procurement is threatened.
  • Emerging technologies and associated risks can be discussed frankly, allowing suppliers to manage expectations about what the market can contribute.
  • Suppliers can decide at an early stage whether to bid for work, saving significant time and financial resources.
  • Allows suppliers to interact with potential supply chain or consortia partners.

Concept Viability is designed to inform, rather than replace, other proof of concept or feasibility work.

Concept Viability customers

Concept Viability has been used by central government, local government and other public bodies, including: Department for Work and Pensions, HM Treasury, Home Office, Land Registry, Ministry of Defence, NHS Wales, Suffolk County Council and Transport for London.


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