3 December 2015
Just when we feel we are making headway with government procurement, the head of the Civil Service publicly praises large suppliers and says the small suppliers are important but they are “not good enough”.
John Manzoni, parliamentary secretary for the Cabinet Office, as well as Civil Service CEO, spoke at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Discover event on Tuesday to talk about the transforming government thanks to its investment in digital technology.
So, we spend years jumping through hoops – tremendously detailed hoops – to get into a situation where we qualify to supply government, only for a senior government spokesmen to start waving a flag that SMEs are simply not good enough to solve the problem that government faces.
The government faces the challenges with technology that it does today because they outsourced large projects without keeping a handle of the detail either on delivery or cost.
Cameron’s government is the first one to identify this, hold their hands up and say they want to do it differently. They should have the confidence to stick to the plan and not waiver, working with SMEs was a high-priority for many years and G-Cloud is a prime example of that.
However, at the event Manzoni said: “”That’s one part of what is really important – the small enterprises.
“But on the other hand, I believe, we are doing some of the most important things in the UK government and we need some of the best companies to help us. So, just focussing on the very small companies is not good enough.”
Clearly the government needs to lift the bonnet of the UK SME potential, as I still believe there are a few of the old guard who don’t have any idea of the capabilities of our country’s SMEs.
Giving out massive contracts to huge US companies would be a complete U-turn. Manzoni has just validated anyone in government still wanting to ignore G-Cloud and sign off long-term massive contracts. It’s a huge backward step and a real knock to the fast-growing small and medium technology firms who have been growing in confidence with the government’s backing.
Time will tell but it certainly seems that certain people in government have their heads in the actual clouds rather than in the technical clouds that they could be harnessing.