Tories consider £100m government IT contract cap


Tories consider £100m government IT contract cap

Antony Savvas

The Tories are considering proposals to limit the value of government IT contracts to £100m and promote the wider use of cheaper open source software.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne has welcomed recommendations from Mark Thompson on how to deliver better value for money in IT procurement and create a level playing-field for open source software.

In March last year, Osborne invited Thompson, of the Judge Business School at Cambridge University, to develop independent recommendations to provide a better deal for taxpayers.

The key suggestions in his report, include:

  • The government could save at least £600m per year if it adopted a more effective open IT procurement process. The open source savings would come not just from reduced licensing costs, but also by freeing government bodies from long-term, monopoly supply situations.
  • New government data standards should be introduced across government, creating a level playing-field for open source software.
  • These new standards would enable large-scale IT projects to be split into small modular components, meaning that the UK government should never again need to sign an IT software contract worth more than £100m - so no more IT "white elephants".

Osborne said, "We have led the debate on using open source software in government, and I am delighted that Thompson has come forward with these detailed recommendations.

"These proposals are not just about saving money - they are about modernising government, making the public sector more innovative and improving public services."

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