The government is looking to open the door to smaller suppliers as it unveils a £40m IT framework aimed at SMBs who have been "locked out" of government business in the past.
The Digital Services Framework has been put together jointly by the Government Procurement Service and Government Digital Services, and aims to sign up suppliers for a range of digital tech services. The government claims the framework forms part of its efforts to move away from only buying legacy IT from large systems integrators.
The framework, which is accepting applications until August, is looking for firms of all sizes to provide services around software engineering, support and systems administration. It is set to run for nine months.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude (pictured) said the framework demonstrates the government's commitment to making IT procurement fairer for suppliers and more cost efficient for government.
"To deliver the efficient and responsive public services that users demand, we must ensure that government has access to the most innovative and cost-effective digital solutions," he said.
"Often, these services will be provided by smaller firms that in the past have been locked out of public sector business by complex and expensive pre-qualification requirements. The Digital Services Framework is an example of government procurement that is faster, simpler and easier to do business with.
"We want to have a highly competitive market, access to innovation, and to drive growth by working with businesses of all sizes. That is how we will deliver world-leading digital public services and build a stronger economy."
The tender document reiterated the government's preference to use open source technology and stated: "Where there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products that fulfil minimum and essential capabilities, open source will be selected on the basis of its inherent flexibility."
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