I was kindly invited to go along to a government event on 29 February for emerging suppliers, hosted by Ann Pedder (commercial director for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and crown rep for emerging suppliers). The event featured helpful updates from the MD of the Government Procurement Service, David Shields, and Mr. G-cloud Chris Chant, so I thought I’d pass these along.
Read the below for a quick recap. Otherwise click here for a slightly more detailed summary.
Overall, the message was very clear - government is keen to change the way it buys. In particular the iterative development process used for the CloudStore was highlighted as one of the new and improved ways of doing things.
David Shields is continuing his reform plans at the Government Procurement Service, giving the organisation an increased focus on demand management and data-driven decision making. He also stressed to suppliers the need to fill out tender documents meticulously, noting that bid evaluators would often divvy up questions and could only mark the answers that were written down in their section (i.e. they couldn’t make assumptions based on other answers submitted as part of the same bid).
Chris Chant noted that it wasn’t a huge problem for companies if they didn’t manage to bid to get onto the CloudStore this time around, as ‘version 2’ was on the way with a target of end of April. He was keen for government to catch up with the advances made in IT over the last five years. In his view around 85% of what government does shouldn’t be special, and in an age of austerity government’s 1st step should be to think, ‘What can I afford?’ He noted that a series of buy camps are being run for government buyers, and hoped that the transparency offered by the CloudStore would be a big game-changer for government.