But tech firms also see continued challenges, including overlapping frameworks and lack of clarity on social-value requirements
Government technology suppliers have reported major strides forward in recent years in officials’ commercial understanding of digital and data – albeit with a number of remaining areas for improvement.
A newly published study, delivered by techUK and Dods Research – a PublicTechnology sister organisation – finds that four in five representatives of government tech providers believe that procurement professionals have demonstrated noticeably improved understanding of tech issues in the last 10 years.
Research participants pointed to a number of positive developments during that time period, in particular the creation of the Digital Marketplace platform and its supporting buying vehicles: G-Cloud; and Digital Outcomes and Specialists.
The DDaT Sourcing Playbook procurement guidelines, launched by government this year after consultation with suppliers, was cited as a recent example of progress.
In other areas, there is still work to be done, with barriers to government digital transformation including access to skills, the ongoing prevalence of legacy systems, and operational silos, according to suppliers.
Challenges faced by tech firms, meanwhile, include overlapping frameworks and the recently implemented requirement for suppliers to demonstrate social value – which, while supported in principle by the research respondents, needs greater clarity.
Julian David, techUK chief executive, said: “Advances in digital public service provision have been made possible by the extraordinary innovations that the UK and wider global tech industry have brought to market. By recognising this success and making recommendations for continued improvement, this report hopes to foster the continuation of meaningful dialogue between public sector buyers and tech suppliers.”
Simon Godfrey, BT government director and chair of the techUK Public Services Board, added: “Government has been responsive in introducing more agility and standardisation in both its procurement, and digital service design and implementation processes. This report acknowledges these achievements and is open about areas where opportunities exist that can further improve collaboration between government and its expanded tech supply base. In turn, this kind of engagement can help improve digital service provision at local and national levels for the benefit of users and taxpayers.”
The full research report, Making IT Work, can be accessed here.