Government to compare apples with apples on IT procurement
02 November 2012
By Matthew D'Arcy
Open Standards Principles are to be applied across government to make IT more open, cheaper and better connected, Francis Maude has said.
The move is set to help government bodies compare apples with apples when it comes to buying IT, officials said. IT procurement has previously been dominated by a small number of large suppliers, with numerous reports highlighting consequential poor value for the taxpayer.
Open standards will now allow the government to avoid duplication in its IT procurement, it is understood. And the standards, which must be adhered to by all departments, are expected to encourage innovation that will result from suppliers being pushed to work together.
"We know that there are more real savings to be made in government IT contracts – in the first half of this year, we have already saved £409m on ICT services," said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.
"Government must be better connected to the people it serves and partners who can work with it - especially small businesses, voluntary and community organisations. Having open information and software that can be used across government departments will result in lower licensing costs in government IT, and reduce the cost of lock-in to suppliers and products.
"It is only right that we are encouraging competition and creating a level playing field for all companies to ensure we are getting the best price for the taxpayer."
The principles have been agreed to by all central government departments. But it is also understood that local government could benefit, especially where council chief information officers are already attempting to drive forward similar measures at a local level. Officials said the new principles would provide local government with the "policy backing" it needed.