Councils 'should become Digital Marketplace suppliers'

Written by Colin Marrs on 22 October 2014 in News

Local authorities are being encouraged to share successful digital products and services they develop by making them available on the Digital Marketplace platform.

Speaking at the 2014 Socitm annual conference in Manchester, Will Laing, Crown Commercial Service senior relationship manager, local government, said that councils should become suppliers as well as customers on government digital frameworks.

He said that the move would help local authorities generate more revenue from their intellectual capital, as well as spreading good practice.

“What austerity has meant is that back office functions including procurement are under pressure to become revenue generating.

“But how does something that works well in one authority get known about?

“The Digital Marketplace can become a platform through which local authorities themselves can market cloud hosting, and technology services they have developed.”

Speaking during the same session, CCS senior category lead for technology products said that the Cabinet Office unit has reduced the amount of agreements available to local authorities from 43 to 21 and would reduce that number further.

“We want fewer frameworks which are easier to understand,” he said.

Later this year CCS will launch a monthly price guide to give customers a better idea about what they should be paying for products and services procured through frameworks, he said.

Laing said that in many markets, it was rare for there to be more than four or five active suppliers.

“This has led to huge variation in what councils are paying – there is sometimes five or six times variance in support and maintenance costs – contracts can be highly and unnecessarily bespoke, which drives costs up,” he said.

In addition, the Enterprise Application Support Services framework, which launched in August, is aimed at reducing costs for maintenance and support by up to 50%, he said.

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