Government technology tsar confirms new Digital Procurement Framework in major boost for SMEs

Mike Bracken, the Executive Director of Digital for the UK Cabinet Office, has announced that the government is set to launch a new Digital Procurement Framework.

Speaking at the Thinking Digital conference in Newcastle-Gateshead, the technology tsar said that that the revised government purchasing guidelines were necessary to ensure the best possible services were being delivered to end-users.

"We're opening it up...It's important, because it means we're getting the right suppliers for agile and digital teams across government. That model and that framework should allow suppliers – all manner of digital suppliers – to work with government in a more meaningful way," Bracken commented.

The announcement of a new Digital Procurement Framework, which will arrive "later in 2013," we understand, is intended partly to enable more small and medium-sized enterprises to compete for public sector contracts.

Bracken also confirmed that, following the successful rehoming of 24 government departments at GOV.UK, plans were afoot for the next generation of digital migrations.

"Previously, we had incomplete information spread across many sites and many formats. We now have a clear set of policy pages, because we're servicing user needs. We're going to concentrate on the stuff that matters," Bracken noted.

He added: "The next set of platforms are underway. And they're going to come along as we transform government transactions."

Specifically, Bracken said that a further 25 services, 14 agencies, and 8 departments were in the process of making the switch, confirming that beta versions of some sites - an agricultural payment scheme was cited as an example - would be ready to go live in October 2013.

Other key areas that would benefit from a more streamlined digital model were motoring, tax, justice, and benefits. Bracken noted that the changes currently underway were part of an ambitious re-imagining of government as "digital by default" that stood to save between £50 million and £70 million every year.

"It's not perfect yet by any means, but it's a start....The critical thing is it's improving," Bracken added.