The channel could get a bigger share of public-sector spending after the government unveiled plans to give smaller suppliers better access to contracts.
Speaking at the Government UK IT Summit, John Oughton, the recently appointed chief executive of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), said the government is considering how to help smaller firms such as resellers win more IT contracts.
Oughton said trials in the West Midlands and London were exploring ways of encouraging SMEs to bid for public-sector contracts, and initial results show them winning 70 to 80 per cent of deals. The full results will be reported in the summer.
Whitehall officials are keen to use smaller contractors, as a way of both encouraging innovation in government IT and ploughing money back into UK firms.
"This is not about lowering standards. It is about lowering barriers," Oughton said.
The OGC said cutting red tape would make it easier for resellers to bid for government contracts. It is also examining how sub-contracting is done in large government projects.
"We are committed to reducing the barriers to entry for partners of all size," Oughton said.
But John Griffiths, public sector consultant at VAR cScape, said that to attract resellers to bid for sub-contracts, the government will have to force prime contractors to offer real opportunities.
"There's always someone who wants a slice of the revenue upstream. Often the work is being sub-contracted because (the prime contractor) doesn't want to touch it," he said.
Tim Magness, marketing director at reseller Civica, said the OGC also needs to push schemes such as G-Cat and S-Cat, which allow public-sector buyers to cut red tape by channelling business through approved suppliers.
"The system works well, but it needs to be used more," Magness said.
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