System integrators working with the Departmenr for Work and Pensions (DWP) may be forced to list the number of SMEs in their supply chains as part of a move to open up public sector ICT contracts to small businesses.
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In an interview with our sister magazine ComputerWeekly.com, DWP commercial director David Smith said that the findings would not necessarily result in a quota system for small suppliers, but would help the department encourage SI partners to include more SME dealers when subcontracting work.
Smith revealed he was currently talking to seven integrators including Atos, BT, CSC and HP.
Forum for Private Busines senior policy advisor Phil McCabe said a quota system could be helpful: "It would certainly be one way of opening up the process. But it would also be good if there was a more direct point of contact for small firms."
However, Essex County Council CIO David Wilde said the onus was also on SMEs to be smarter when approaching the public sector.
He said small businesses would need to be able to answer big questions about scalability.
"That's something public bodies need to know and with the cloud it has become something easier for SMEs to achieve," he said.