Formation of CTS is latest step in effort to squeeze more value from technology used by central government
A team has been set up within the Cabinet Office to help government departments in choosing technology, with an emphasis on widely used solutions to make collaboration easier.
The Common Technology Services (CTS) team has emerged from the Government Digital Service’s (GDS) work on technology infrastructure, notably the Cabinet Office Technology Transformation and Crown Hosting.
It is led by the government’s deputy chief technology officer Magnus Falk (pictured), who has said in a GDS blog that it has begun to work with departments on identifying and promoting common technologies, and working out how to unpick contracts and lay the ground for improvements.
“We call some technology 'common' because it is as familiar at home as it is at work,” he said. “It’s technology like mobile and desktop devices, and the productivity software you use, like email and single sign-on services. It is also the way you connect, like Wi-Fi, and the servers and data centres that make these possible.
Aim for flexibility
“Our aim is to make the Civil Service more flexible and more productive. We do this by ensuring technology is a tool, not a barrier.”
Falk emphasised that CTS is not meant as a replacement for IT teams or as an in-house systems integrator, but said it can help departments get better value from their technology and support collaboration.
CTS has identified the potential for savings in areas including: more use of common designs and products; re-usable services; cheaper cloud solutions; pricing that reflects government’s scale; shorter, flexible contracts; and competitive rates from suppliers due to SMEs having more access to the market.
It is also working with departments to identify some initial projects, and has created four teams for departmental engagement, commercial works in reviewing current IT contracts, technical work on designing common technology products, and delivery to test and iterate new technology.
Falk said the team will step up its work with government departments over the next few months.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0