Extortionate IT costs are “officially over” – Francis Maude

Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, reiterated the commitment of the public sector to eradicate unnecessarily large contracts and bespoke platforms from individual government departments.

Speaking at TechUK’s Public Services 2030 Conference, he announced that “the era of bespoke solutions commissioned with extortionate costs by individual departments is officially over“.

He said that the government needs to focus on ensuring that it has an effective procurement policy, to avoid the purchasing of technology that is already redundant or will be before the end of the contract.

For too long government IT meant interminable procurement processes to buy services and tech that were obsolete in many cases before the contract was even started, let alone by the time it had run its course,” he said.

That combination of words – British, government, IT project – was a pretty catastrophic one five years ago. It isn’t now.”

He added that the government is continuing to establish a policy that prevents contracts from exceeding a lifetime value of more than £100,000 to encourage short-term procurement contracts and involve smaller companies in the process.

Contracts should be smaller [and] shorter to ensure that we have the widest range of suppliers,” Maude explained so that selection should be dictated by the quality of service and price.

Over the last five years we’ve focused on driving down cost in government while improving the standard of services to the public.

Digital will continue to play an essential role in this and we know that our work is only just starting,” Maude concluded.

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