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Government raises IT Supplier Standard



Cabinet Office minister launches consultation on six principles for working with technology companies

The Government has laid out a new framework for its business with technology companies with the publication of a new Supplier Standard and an invitation for feedback from the industry.

Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer (pictured) talked about details of the standard this week at an event held by IT industry association techUK, which participated in the drafting of the document.

The six principles of the Supplier Standard are said to sum up the Government’s expectations and commitments in dealing with tech companies, and will apply to future contacts and, where possible, legacy deals.

The consultation document sums them up as:

  • User needs first, with an emphasis on the Digital Service Standard and responding quickly to changes in needs.
  • Recognising that data is a public asset that should be open and easily accessible.
  • Building services on open standards and reusable components, taking in the new Government Security Classifications and Open Standards Principles, and recognising the aim to buy once for all of government.
  • Ensuring that transactions are simple, clear and fast. The Government is aiming to make the Digital Marketplace the default channel for buying digital products and services.
  • Ongoing engagement between suppliers and government.
  • Transparent contracting, in line with open book contact management and the Open Contracting Data Standard.

Gummer said: “My message to those who operate and work in this sector is this: no matter how large or how small your company is this Government is open for business. We are a government that wants to work for you.

“The new Supplier Standard is just a starting point. We want suppliers, both current and potential, to take note of the key principles and use them to help in the bidding process for government IT and tech projects.”

Right collaboration

It was clear that the move has the support techUK, with its chief executive officer Julian David describing the standard as “a great step forward in delivering the right collaboration between government and industry”.

The principles for the standard have been described as being in public beta phase and the consultation will be open for three months.

In an additional move, the Crown Commercial Service has said it is making progress in creating model contracts for the most commonly used goods and services.

Warren Smith, head of the Digital Marketplace, has written in a blogpost that more than 140 people have signed up to become “good contract champions” in an effort to develop user-centred design in public sector procurement.

Of this group, the majority, 54%, come from the private sector, 18% come from central government and 11% from local. Smith describes this as an “excellent response” but is calling for even more participation.

The initiative began in July and is due to move into discovery phase next month.

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

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