Précis  The Government has selected 17 information and communications technology (“ICT”) suppliers to provide a range of IT hardware to the UK public sector under its £4 billion framework.

What? In a bid to save costs, in February this year the Government advertised for suppliers to join its £4 billion framework for the procurement of standard and non-standard IT products and commoditised services. Last month, the Government announced that it had selected 17 suppliers, including large IT companies and small and medium-sized enterprises(“SMEs”) as its chosen suppliers.

So what? The IT hardware framework will last two years and is designed to significantly reduce the cost and simplify the process of procuring IT hardware and products across UK Government. It is predicted that the framework will save the Government £6.5m this financial year. It is also cited that the framework offers greater direct opportunities benefiting SMEs.

More generally, if you are a Government supplier, it is increasingly likely that the Government will use framework agreements over traditional procurement methods to source suppliers, given that the Government Procurement Service was set up last year to centralise the purchase of goods and services by the UK public sector. A centralised procurement process is projected to reduce the costs of procurement by £3 billion by 2015; a review led by Sir Philip Green revealed a huge difference in the amount paid for the same product by different Government departments and agencies.