Trade Resources Industry Views Open Standards Principles to Help to Reach a Quarter of Ict Procurement

Open Standards Principles to Help to Reach a Quarter of Ict Procurement

The government's Open Standards Principles is one of a number of factors - including G-Cloud, that'll help it achieve a target of reaching a quarter of all ICT procurement contracts being provided to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has said.

The Open Standard Principles are an agreed set of standards designed to make government IT more open, cheaper and better connected. Maude made the comments during a speech at The Cabinet Office's Procurement Briefing 2013, a conference about government technology procurement attended by Computing.

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"These standards will improve competition for government contracts, allowing us to open up to a larger number of suppliers and encourage innovation," Maude told the audience of senior officials.

"It's not just about direct spend with SMEs which we want to increase, but this goes deep into that supply chain as well. We want to open up the supply chain and that's how we'll get to our ambition, our aspiration, that by value, 25 per cent of government business should be with SMEs by 2015."

Maude admitted that it's been tough implementing the changes to ICT procurement in the public sector, especially as it involves bringing organisations out of their traditional "comfort zones".

"We think we're driving reform, we think procurements are being done differently and better," he said.

"It's actually really difficult to know whether what we've said should happen is being done because there's a comfort zone in a lot of central government let alone all over the wider public sector which is 'carry on doing it the way we know'.

"But actually what's secondary is having a fabulous output of a really good service," he added, referring to the traditional approach to IT in the public sector.

Maude also spoke about open data, and how he believes it represents a "new raw material" and way to foster innovation, new businesses and new jobs.

"Open data is an as of yet under-tapped resource, it is the new raw material. It puts new information in the public domain and with that comes huge potential with enormous benefits, few disadvantages and risks that are manageable," he said.

"The possibility of freely available government data is a catalyst for innovation and supporting the creation of new markets and new businesses."

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A Quarter of Government Ict Procurement to Involve Smes by 2015