Standardising government ICT can help facilitate shared service agreements, says expert

Out-Law News | 03 Sep 2014 | 9:53 am | 1 min. read

Standardising the software and systems that are used across government departments could help smooth the way for shared service agreements to be established within government, an expert has said.

IT contracts specialist Simon Colvin said that standardising the requirements for government IT would allow individual departments to benefit from economies of scale when making purchasing decisions and could help suppliers achieve efficiencies through a streamlined procurement process.

Ultimately, better standardisation of the technology used by government departments could provide scope for joining up systems and enable common processes within government to be delivered more efficiently and in a way that enhances the public's experience in using government services online, he said.

Colvin was commenting after the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) launched a survey seeking views to help it "establish common requirements for technology goods and service which can be aggregated". The CCS said it would use the feedback to "build a programme of further competitions over the next 36 months" to meet the needs of government IT buyers.

"The economic reality is that no government department can be given complete freedom to buy bespoke IT solutions," Colvin said. "The Cabinet Office has been driving a number of initiatives aimed at centralising government procurements so as to bolster buying power and drive down costs. Establishing what the common requirements are for government technology will help government buyers achieve economies of scale in procurements and will help inform suppliers about departments' needs and allow them to deliver IT products and services without having to engage in multiple, costly bidding processes."

"Greater standardisation and interoperability of government systems and software can also help promote the wider shared services agenda where greater efficiencies can be achieved," Colvin said. "If the technical nuts and bolts 'talk' together then the opportunity is there to deliver benefits that sharing services can provide, such as the streamlining of back office functions and delivery of better consumer experiences because of the existence of common processes across departments."