Government training contract opened up to small firms
By Vivienne Russell | 22 February 2012
Capita has been awarded a £250m civil service training contract
on the understanding that at least half of the work will be put out to tender
to small businesses.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said this was the
first time a government contract had required a prime contractor to run open
competitions for subcontractors. It takes forward commitments to open up more
government work to small and medium-sized enterprises, he said.
‘This new contract exposes the myth that there is an
inherent contradiction between centralising procurement and supporting small
businesses,’ he said.
It would lead to ‘more opportunities for smaller players,
more innovative training approaches for civil servants and greater savings for
The contract has been awarded by Civil Service Learning, one
of the human resources ‘hubs’ established last year to simplify the
government’s HR practices and reduce costs.
Capita’s bid pledged to cut the cost of classroom courses by
up to 70%. The company will run open competitions for at least 51% of the
services it delivers, and these will be audited by the government.
Jenny Arnott, director of Civil Service Learning, said:
‘Through working with the open market, we also expect to gain more flexible
access to a range of solutions that will improve the overall quality of
training provision across the civil service.’
Other public sector organisations can also use the service and will be eligible
for discounts on courses.