Home Office welcomes SMEs as it bids to reset the way it works with IT suppliers

By Sooraj Shah
02 Jul 2014 View Comments
Home Office in London

The Home Office wants to change the way it works with IT suppliers, as the expiry of several contracts becomes imminent.

The organisation is the latest government body to suggest that it would fall in line with Whitehall's pledge to reduce large public-sector contracts, and move to smaller, more agile deals with SMEs in accordance with the Open Standards Principles announced by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude in June 2013.

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In a webcast, Home Office chief technology officer Denise McDonagh suggested that the Home Office would look to buy services through G-Cloud, and also use the Public Services Network as a mechanism to purchase its networking needs.

The ReSET4 technology transformation programme is responsible for the disaggregation of the Home Office's core infrastructure, and also looks for new ways to procure, design, build and manage the organisation's IT.

With several of its major contracts expiring in 2016, the Home Office said it will look to move away from "large end-to-end contracts and being tied to particular technologies".

The department hopes that this will reduce operational costs, enable continuous improvement of services and allow it to operate in a more flexible and efficient way.

The government has a long history of costly and lengthy IT contracts with big IT vendors, and the Home Office suggested that SMEs will also be considered for smaller contracts.

"For our suppliers, disaggregation will lower the competitive barrier of entry, creating a fairer and more competitive marketplace, encouraging a wider spectrum of suppliers to bid for these smaller, more flexible government contracts," it said.

McDonagh stated that some SME services were already being trialled under a proof of concept.

The Home Office is set to procure through government frameworks, and will only use the Official Journal of the European Union if necessary. In similar fashion to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), it will separate its IT requirements into four main areas: end user computing, networks, hosting, and systems and services integration.

As with the MoJ, within each area there will be a number of contracts available to bid for from suppliers. One such supplier that will be considered under the end-user computing lot will be Citrix for its thin-client technology.

Last week, the Whitehall Monitor revealed that the government had spent £4.2bn on contracts with its six biggest IT suppliers in 2013.

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