Précis - The Government Procurement Service ("GPS") has put all planned ICT framework procurements on hold pending the outcome of an internal review of their effectiveness.
What? The GPS has announced that all of its planned ICT procurements will be paused whilst a review of the effectiveness of current and pending ICT frameworks is undertaken.
Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretary, Chloe Smith, said that GPS want to make sure that its ICT framework agreements "are achieving the best savings and are easier and faster for both buyers and suppliers, including SMEs".
Bill Crothers, Government chief procurement officer, has asked David Shields, managing director of GPS, to lead the review. Crothers said that GPS "want to ensure that [their]…framework agreements are driving the greatest competition, and achieving a wider range of suppliers, including SMEs, in the ICT market".
The review is already underway and is expected to be completed by the end of November. The paused ICT procurements include Hosting Services, Service Integration & Management and End User Devices. All existing GPS ICT arrangements will continue unaffected during the review.
So what? The TMT sector, of course, is a big provider to Government and, as such will be impacted. Government procurement systems have in the past been criticised for being too complex for SMEs. Despite the Government seemingly taking steps to tackle this issue, for example, by the introduction of SME-friendly "G-Cloud frameworks", critics claim that the majority of Government procurements still go to large suppliers.
The review being undertaken by GPS suggests that the Government has recognised that the current ICT procurement system may be flawed. It is clear from the announcement that a key part of the review will be to ensure the accessibility of ICT framework procurement to SMEs.
The Government has also been criticised for mismanagement of ICT frameworks in the past, in particular allowing major IT suppliers to overcharge and it will be interesting to see what changes come through to address this perception. It will be important for TMT companies providing goods and services to Government to keep an eye on the changes as they come through to be able to best capitalise on them.