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Government postpones new ICT procurement pending outcome of internal review

The Government has called a halt to ICT procurements through planned new "framework agreements" whilst a review into the effectiveness of the way it currently procures ICT services is carried out.01 Nov 2012

Framework agreements allow buyers to obtain services they want from a select list of "pre-approved" suppliers without "excessive procurement procedures and the need for extensive tendering" to occur, the Cabinet Office said. An "internal review" will check the effectiveness of these frameworks and see whether further cost savings to those involved in the procurement process can be delivered, it added.

"The review will look at how effectively current and in-flight ICT frameworks are being used," the Cabinet Office said. "There will be a pause on all planned GPS (Government Procurement Service) ICT frameworks whilst the review is ongoing. Existing ICT procurement frameworks will continue to be used as normal, with buying not affected."

The review is to be led by David Shields, managing director of the Government Procurement Service.

"We want to ensure GPS framework agreements are driving the greatest competition, and achieving a wider range of suppliers, including SMEs, in the ICT market," Bill Crothers, the Government's chief procurement officer, said in a statement. "I have therefore asked David Shields to assess how we are using these frameworks so that we can achieve the most effective results for everyone. This pause will allow us to look at whether we are getting this right and how we can minimise duplication across Government."

Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary Chloe Smith added that it was "sensible for the taxpaper and for businesses" for a check to be made of whether framework agreements "are achieving the best savings and are easier and faster for both buyers and suppliers, including SMEs".