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techUK highlights good and bad in government-supplier engagement

Julian David
Image source: techUK

Engagement between government and technology suppliers has generally improved in recent years, but there is also scope for improvement, according to a new report from techUK.

The IT industry association has published Getting IT Done to round up supplier perspectives as conveyed in research commissioned by its public services board on how they have seen government’s approach to the sector over the past decade.

It says that suppliers have recognised the significant progress made in the past 10 years, with 80% of those interviewed saying the public sector’s commercial knowledge and understanding of data and tech had improved.

Achievements such as the implementation of G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists procurement channels have opened up opportunities for more product and service providers including SMEs.

In addition, the DDaT Sourcing Playbook, launched earlier this year, provides an example of collaboration between government and suppliers to improve the procurement process. 40% of suppliers said they see it being widely followed across government.

Obstacles remain

But there are still obstacles in the form of ensuring sufficient access to skills, updating legacy tech and systems, the growth of overlapping procurement frameworks and the continued existence of some operational silos.

While 91% of suppliers reported having a good or excellent understanding of government tendering processes and selection criteria, the report says this has more to do with their efforts rather than any simple and easy-to-understand process.

There is also a big issue in the need for government bodies to provide clarity and confidence in how social value is evaluated and monitored when they make it a criteria in procurement.

The report includes a number of recommendations for government, including that it should promote and secure collaboration across departments in dealing with the industry, that regular dialogue between the two sides should be part of ‘business as usual’, and digital and commercial teams should continue to develop their co-operation.

There is also a need for transparency around digital plans and prioritisation across government to help suppliers plan their own work for the market more effectively.

Julian David, CEO of techUK, said: “Advances in digital public service provision have been made possible by the extraordinary innovations that the UK and wider global tech industry have brought to market. By recognising this success and making recommendations for continued improvement, this report hopes to foster the continuation of meaningful dialogue between public sector buyers and tech suppliers.”

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