Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) trying to take on government IT contracts may be struggling to have their bid writing and tenders accepted by Whitehall’s procurement teams, with one industry expert claiming that they “actively fight it” despite talking about how SMEs must be supported.
Phil Pavitt, former HMRC CIO, told Computing magazine that SMEs which have been trying to do business with the government for some time believe it is still as hard today as it was five years ago, saying that those in Whitehall procurement are not prepared to deal with contract management and overheads, which means the majority of SMEs are now abandoning hope of working with the government at all.
In 2011, the government revealed that it intended to carry out 25 per cent of all business using SMEs, with G-Cloud – where public sector groups would procure cloud-based services from different suppliers, including SMEs – just one of the schemes set in place to help achieve this goal.
But Mr Pavitt believes that very little is actually being spent on SMEs through G-Cloud, saying: “If you find out how much of the £15-£16 billion they spend on IT from SMEs… it’s tens of millions, which is an absolute joke.”
This comes after Naureen Khan of TechUK noted that the government will need to engage with the entire IT industry, large and small, to ensure that strategy is effectively shaped and they are able to procure what solutions they need.
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