A massive £565 million-worth of government tech contracts are due to expire this year, according to new research from Tussell, an online database of public tenders and government contracts in the UK.
The opportunity represents a potential “gold mine” for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the company suggests, amid a growing appetite among government procurement teams for services and solutions from smaller vendors.
The number of SMEs winning government contracts each month increased 11 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to the Tussell team, with SMEs making up 62 percent of the 23,100 suppliers winning government contracts in 2017.
Among the opportunities open at the moment is one with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). After Brexit in March 2019 the authority needs to take over the European Commission’s regulatory and monitoring roles for UK State aid.
The current IT systems for State aid are hosted by the EU Commission and after Brexit UK-specific systems will be required for use by the CMA, to adhere to reporting and transparency requirements, the CMA said. It needs a partner to “help the CMA identify gaps where existing systems can be reused and/or new systems need to be procured / built and define the high-level solution design for the new UK State Aid system.”
Still an “Addiction” to Large Vendors?
Six SMEs and six large vendors have started their applications. (The closing date for applications is Tuesday July 3, 2018).
Jan Joubert, CEO of consultancy Rainmaker, told Computer Business Review: “The centre has done well to open up the market for technology services through its procurement frameworks, but signs remain that departments are struggling to break their addiction to large suppliers.”
He added: “We still see multiple contract extensions with no real competition, or one outsourcing giant being replaced with another, despite ICT provision being inadequate, programmes years behind schedule and millions of pounds over budget.”
“These new contracts provide departments with a real opportunity, but only if they use the frameworks to increase competition. They work and they allow departments to actively engage SMEs who have the expertise and agility to overhaul processes and replace archaic, legacy infrastructure with adaptable, iterative technology solutions, offering better services at lower cost.”