Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP

Stephen Kelly

Mike Bracken


The Procurement Briefing 2013 ‘Transforming Technology Procurement through SMEs’ is an invitation only event that brought together a network of 90 senior officials and decision makers from procurement and technology backgrounds in central and local Government and Business. Hosted in association with the Cabinet Office and GDS, this year’s conference explored the new world of Government technology procurement and the opportunities it presents to engage with new suppliers, in particular SMEs.

With the onset of ‘Digital by Default’, the whole way the Government procures and delivers IT is being radically overhauled. There is now a commitment  to buy services that can be delivered in an agile environment and to design procurements that enable innovative solutions from  the market. This involves a fundamental break from large, long term contracts that restrict departments ability to change quickly or from  tapping into innovation.

The days of long, cost-inefficient, restrictive contracts are over. It is a timely moment for the Government to exploit the huge growth potential in the technology sector by encouraging the best suppliers to offer innovative solutions that provide real value for money for the taxpayer. This is a real opportunity for SMEs that will enable their traditional strengths of value, flexibility and innovation to come to the fore.

Set over a day, the programme included an opening keynote address by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, as well as an expert panel offering provocations for debate. In the afternoon there was themed group discussion work with a keynote speech by Stephen Kelly, Chief Operating Officer, HM Government.

2013 Conference Report

Key Objectives

The day addressed a number of key objectives:

  • To better understand what digital by default services mean for procurers and suppliers alike, and the impact this will have on diversifying the supplier base to include more SMEs.
  • To look at the different ways procurers can open up opportunities to SMEs, by taking advantage of a pipeline of forthcoming work that suppliers can access and prepare to bid for well in advance.
  • To use the day to tackle challenges faced by civil servants in the procurement process, looking at practical steps to minimise risk and remove other barriers to entry, as well as a lack of digital skills across the digital service.

A report from the day will be available shortly.