techUK hosts launch event for the UK Government’s Digital Data and Technology Sourcing Playbook
On Tuesday 5 April, techUK was delighted to host the Cabinet Office and industry representatives for the launch event for the UK Government’s Digital, Data and Technology Sourcing Playbook which was published on 28 March 2022.
The DDaT Sourcing Playbook sets out guidance – in one place – as to how digital projects and programmes are assessed, procured and delivered in central government departments, arms-length bodies and the wider public sector. Through the application of what is commercial best practice, the Playbook addresses 11 key policies and six cross-cutting priorities that will ensure government gets things right from the start when it comes to procurement.
Opening the event, techUK’s Director of Markets Matthew Evans noted that techUK and its members very much welcome the Playbook; and, in particular, highlighted the collaborative process that has been at the heart of its development. Indeed, the Cabinet Office is not only to be commended for consulting with industry, but also – and critically – with colleagues across the DDaT profession to secure the best possible outcomes for government procurers and suppliers alike, while delivering value for money for the UK taxpayer. techUK looks forward to this collaboration continuing throughout the Playbook’s implementation, too, to ensure that success is measured and the rules are followed.
Keynote from the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency
The keynote speech at the launch was delivered by the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who holds administrative responsibility for the Playbook. Acknowledging the tech sector’s fundamental importance to the UK’s economy, the minister reflected upon how the Playbook was developed, how it will achieve value for the tax payer, how it will support and facilitate innovation and how it will effect cyber security: noting that it will help government in its procurement, industry in its sales and ensure the delivery of maximum value for money and efficiencies – a key theme.
The minister outlined the Playbook’s cross-cutting priorities which include taking an outcome-based approach; avoiding and remediating legacy IT; cyber security – secure by design; enabling innovation; levelling the playing field for SMEs (for example, with the publishing of commercial pipleines); and driving sustainability. The minister also emphasised the importance of collaboration between government and industry going forward, as well as the importance of the Playbook in making the procurement process simpler, more straightforward and cheaper for suppliers to be engaged with. In addition to improving and enhancing the relationship between the public and private sector, the minister concluded that the ultimate and overarching outcome or positive impact will be for the UK taxpayer – with better access to government services at a better price.
Mr Rees-Mogg also took the time to acknowledge the importance of ministerial support in championing and maintaining the course of the Playbook and its intended outcomes – including the need to do things effectively as well as efficiently; and he noted his commitment to support with energy.
DDaT Sourcing Playbook Panel Discussion
After the minister’s speech, attendees heard from our five panellists:
- Joanna Davison, Executive Director of Government’s Central Digital and Data Office, noted that government’s use of digital and data has come along way over the last few years: there’s still a lot to do to create the best user experience including around better use of data, but the DDaT Playbook is an essential part of creating that better digital government and increasing efficiencies, improving experiences (for example, making things more joined-up) and, consequently, building trust in government. Joanna also highlighted that working collaboratively on building digital skills remains a key focus for the CDDO.
- Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer, thanked those who helped put together and contribute to the Playbook; and highlighted the importance again of making government more efficient especially in the face of the rising cost of living. He also touched upon the importance of early market engagement and asked industry to feedback where the Playbook guidance is not being followed, as well as suggestions for improvements as the implementation process progresses.
- Meryl Bushell, Crown Representative, Cabinet Office, noted that the launch event is just start of the implementation journey – the Playbook team must influence the digital, operations, policy and commercial communities across government to ensure it works, so there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of roll out. They’ll be using knowledge shops which will be launching this month; an e-learning suite; and ‘deep dives’ where people need real expertise on how to implement the policies. This will take time to happen and industry can support by flagging the Playbook to departments; and keep feeding back – including via techUK.
- Hilary Robertson, Strategy Director at Sopra Steria, reflected on the success of the Sourcing Programme in developing the DDaT Playbook and how the team really listened to industry and built understanding with the departments. Hilary also highlighted the DDaT skills shortage and noted the importance of continued collaboration, and finding smarter ways to work together: if we can improve the productivity of the UK through automation and digital and deliver a better service because we’re not making costly mistakes, then this is a positive direction.
- Simon Godfrey, Director of Government Relations at BT and techUK Public Services Board Chair, also commended the collaboration involved in this initiative and highlighted the need to continue these efforts going forward; noting that industry will evangelise the Playbook when working with colleagues in government and encouraging the Crown Commercial Service to help with these efforts too.
The discussion then opened up with questions taken from attendees touching on topics including why the collaborative effort worked so well for this Playbook; plans to engage the wider public sector, such as local government, to adopt the Playbook; the planned changes to procurement legislation; the reality of pipeline transparency and previous difficulties in navigating this data; the mechanisms that will be used to benchmark/evaluate those using the Playbook (government buyers) to see if it improves outcomes and behaviours; and how to make the bidding process easier for SMEs.
You can watch the recording of the launch event in full here: