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October 13, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:49pm

UK PUBLIC SECTOR OFFERED EASIER ROUTE TO IT SERVICES

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency CCTA is hoping to offer small and medium public sector organizations a simplified and cheaper route to procuring information technology services such as consultancy on strategy development or project management, through its newly launched catalogue S-CAT. The public sector already has such a catalogue for commodity products, known as G-CAT, which is run and administered by Electronic Data Services Corp, EDS (CI No 2,892). Because S-CAT involves services competitive to those of EDS, the agency will manage the catalogue itself. The idea of the catalogue is that it provides a central directory, available on the CCTAs intranet, of already vetted companies that can provide consultancy services in eight areas of business; technology strategy development; project management; architecture design including networks and communications; requirements specification and systems acceptance; supply of specialist technology staff; advice on electronic commerce; electronic data interchange, multimedia and internet services; advice on security, including disaster recovery; and advice on outsourcing and the Private Finance Initiative. It will contain fee guidelines such as maximum fees for certain types of work. The catalogue was advertised to suppliers in February of this year according to European Union guidelines, and the CCTA has announced the 36 service providers that have won a place on S-CAT, for an initial period of three to five years.

Cut bidding costs

These include Anite Group Plc’s Anite Systems, Cap Gemini UK Plc, Coopers & Lybrand, KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, ICL Plcs ICL Enterprises, Sema Group UK Logica Plc and Oracle Corp UK Ltd. The companies had to submit generic proposals, and their acceptance means they sign a framework agreement with the CCTA, which then signs an access agreement with potential customers, such as central and local government offices, the education sector and the National Health Service. Beyond this initial vetting, and a basic contractual framework, the purchaser and the supplier deal direct with each other, not through the CCTA. Purchasers will still go out to tender for each contract, and should find between 17 and 27 companies in each of the eight business areas. The catalogue should cut bidding costs, as the initial vetting is done only once, and reduce purchase costs due to bulk purchasing power. Suppliers pay the CCTA a procurement fee of 3% on each contract, which, according to the agency, many of them will hide from the customer since the catalogue can help them reduce marketing costs. The CCTA says it may well hold further competitions in the future for new areas of business. S-CAT will be fully on line from December this year. Once it is fully up and running, the CCTA expects the value of business procured through S-CAT to be in the region of 85m pounds per year.

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