Simon Payne – Senior Vice President (Public Sector) at Proxima argues that UK government technology procurement is moving in the right direction, with a focus on the recently introduced Technology Services 3 framework
While this may seem like a routine implementation of a framework program, it has the potential to have a major impact on the way the UK government procures technology services. Most importantly, it has the ability to transform the vendor landscape – namely by allowing more SMEs to compete and ultimately win contracts in this area.
Technology services 3
The most remarkable thing about Technology Services 3 so far is perhaps the variety of providers it contains – there are now 263 approved for the framework. Of that 60% are SMEs, a very sizable number in a sector where multinational tech giants often play a big role.
The government doesn’t just want more SME suppliers on the frame – they want them to win important jobs. To this end, the framework is divided into several lots to ensure that not only the most efficient procurement is achieved, but also that SMEs are not excluded from contracts by being too broad.
This approach to the framework should also pay off for the departments. This makes them more independent of individual suppliers and enables them to act in a more agile manner. By making sure you have fewer large single-supplier contracts, you will get more competitive bidding processes, which in turn will likely result in higher value for money.
“The government doesn’t just want more SME suppliers in the frame – they want them to win important contracts.”
Departments that use technology services 3 have the option of having the social value account for up to 10% of the overall assessment criteria. Exactly what social value criteria are used is at the department’s discretion – this could affect organizations in disadvantaged communities, it could be ESG standards, or it could be how many apprentices the organization employs.
Whatever metrics a department uses, the most important thing is that they can move away from a rigid system based solely on economic value. This in turn should serve the goal of placing more contracts with SMEs.
Procure more flexibly
Ultimately, the Technology Services 3 framework is the step in the right direction, which enables departments to shop more flexibly and at the same time to work on achieving important government policy goals.
For more information on Technology Services 3, please visit the Crown Commercial Service website here. In this context, services ranging from strategy to design to operational use can be acquired by public sector customers.
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