The Government is making plans to provide more information on procurement databases and develop a new tool for Whitehall departments as part of its response to the collapse of major contractor Carillion.
The plans have become public in its response to a report by Parliament’s Public Administration Committee on the outlook for public outsourcing and contracting in the aftermath of the collapse, which prompted widespread criticism of the Government earlier this year.
They are part of an effort to rebuild public trust in outsourcing by making the rationale behind relevant decisions more transparent.
One element of the response is an effort by the Government Commercial Function to develop a database with a tool for departments to track and understand information on contracts across government.
It will act as a repository for information taken from existing systems and supplier sources, and according to the response statement, “be used internally in a wide range of ways to improve internal outcomes”. It will also include reporting on key performance indicators, with three to five for each service.
As a first step it will be used for ‘gold’ contracts with the Government’s strategic suppliers.
The response also refers to improving compliance, coverage and the quality of publication on the Contracts Finder database. This will include improving the use and validation of organisation identifiers, publication of subcontracting data and improving compliance with policy requirements and guidance to publish contract documents
In addition, new metadata fields will be set up to indicate specific types of contract terms. The statement refers to the use of transparency clauses as an example.
Image by Mike Lawrence, CC BY 2.0 through flickr