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Guest blog: techUK helps shape Government's digital transformation

In January techUK hosted a Concept Viability with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). The Concept Viability looked at the future ICT Model for the Defra Network. Graham Barton, Business Change Manager (Strategy and Engagement) at the Environment Agency blogs about his thoughts on the session.

"Earlier this year, myself and my colleagues from the Defra UnITy Programme worked with techUK to host a Concept Viability workshop which focused on the design and scope of the future ICT model for the Defra Network. We recognise that early engagement with the market is an important part of the procurement process, a view shared by Cabinet Office and other departments as highlighted in the recent public procurement reforms for small businesses.

Senior representatives from more than ninety tech companies of all sizes participated in the event, including many SMEs, who formally fed back that it was an "excellent day, very worthwhile for an SME".

We know techUK was particularly delighted that the Defra UnITy Programme team was joined by digital leaders from across the Defra network of bodies who reiterated the need for an on-going discussions and engagement with industry. They highlighted the central role of technology in delivering our critical services to the public (such as Flood Warnings) and improving ways of working to enable a more efficient service to the public.

To make the most from working with techUK and the access to the market they bring, we also introduced a unique model, whereby the Concept Viability was followed by one-to-one engagements for more in-depth discussions with individual suppliers.

Through this day, we hoped to identify the procurement routes, technologies and conditions that encourage wide supplier participation, and deliver the services we need. The ideas and challenges put to us by suppliers have helped us to shape and test a future ICT model that we believe will ensure continued provision of services. More-so, the model enables the services used by (and critical to) the public to be more innovative, operate to the most appropriate service levels and ultimately enable the whole Defra Network to achieve its outcomes.

The whole Programme team was delighted with the level of engagement facilitated by techUK and we found the quality of feedback surprisingly rich and helpful.

Finally, I'm pleased to announce that we've recently launched an online community via Yammer that will allow us to build on our engagement on a day-by-day basis. Click here to join our online community."

techUK's Concept Viability provides a mechanism for effective pre-procurement market engagement and helps improve the commercial capabilities of public sector buyers. For more information, please contact Irina Pencheva.

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