Procurement portal helps public bodies increase digital spend

2 Feb 18

Public sector spending on digital services has exceeded £3.2bn in the last six years, the Crown Commercial Service has revealed. 

The Cabinet's Trading fund said small and medium-sized enterprises had received 48% of the money spent on procuring digital expertise for public bodies. 

This comes three years after the Digital Marketplace scheme, to make procurement easier and more transparent, was set up by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Frameworks from the Digital Marketing scheme contributed towards the CCS delivering £725m in savings including commercial benefits for taxpayers, the Cabinet agency revealed. 

A report from digital umbrella-group techUK out on Monday suggested the government should expand Digital Marketplace.

Spending going through frameworks should be increased, the report Procuring the Smarter State recommended, as well as “the number of non-Whitehall parts of the public sector using the system - with a focus on local authorities and government agencies”.

The techUK paper also proposed: “One minister in every department should be given responsibility for tech and should champion driving consistent implementation of the digital strategy, as well as aligning with the government transformation strategy in 2016-17.”

Niall Quinn, director of the technology strategic category for CCS, said: “We have overhauled the public sector procurement landscape, harnessing the expertise of innovative companies and giving thousands of SMEs the opportunity to supply government for the first time."

The CCS also announced yesterday, in the latest version of the CCS framework G-Cloud, of the 2,800 suppliers that were signed up, 90% of them were SMEs.

On top of this, frameworks Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 have 2,018 suppliers, 94% of which are SMEs.

Warren Smith, director of Digital Marketplace, suggested that they have just scratched the surface and that “the next three years will see a step-change where these approaches are mainstreamed across the government.”

Rob Driver, head of public sector at techUK, said: “I look forward to working in partnership with government to develop the next generation of public services, and to stimulate growth in the UK GovTech market.”

techUK’s 2017 Civil Servant Survey revealed that 97% of public servants view technology as crucial to their work.

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