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Digital Marketplace chief works on procurement ‘playbook’



Warren Smith leads international group on new approach to feed into UK digital government vision

A leading official from the Government Digital Service (GDS) has indicated it is looking at a new approach to the procurement of digital and technology services in central government.

Warren Smith (pictured), director of the Digital Marketplace, has pointed to early moves through his involvement in the E-Leaders forum within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

He is leading a group focused on ICT procurement reform that is drawing up a “playbook” to help public sector organisations reform their approach, with an emphasis on more transparency, open data and sharing platforms and components.

A new blogpost relates this to efforts to develop a more streamlined approach to procurement in UK government.

Smith says the core features are likely to include opening up data throughout the procurement and contracting lifecycle, increasing transparency in the process, and sharing and reusing platforms, components and good practice.

He also reiterates the emphasis on modular agile approaches to digital developments, saying they should be encouraged in contracting, along with the creation of a more diverse base of suppliers.

“We want to realise the vision for a digital government, a brilliant Civil Service, and to create a vibrant, diverse economy of digital and technology suppliers,” Smith says. “In order for this to happen, we need a step change in public procurement and contracting.

“We want to remove as much friction as we can from the procurement and contracting process.”

He says this would attract suppliers who can work “in the right ways” with government, and help to deliver public sector programmes successfully.

GDS is also planning to run an event on 11 September with the Crown Commercial Service and the Digital Catapult to feed into the work of the OECD group. Smith says it should bring together a cross-section of the Civil Service – especially policy-makers, delivery teams and procurement specialists  and digital and technology suppliers.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0


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