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11 August 2015

Tackling the challenges of improving government technology procurement

You would think a purchasing department that saved £5.9bn in a year would be rather popular. But for the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the government’s central procurement agency launched on 2 April 2014, its first 12 months in existence saw criticisms flying in from all angles. At least £220m of those savings came from IT – and yet, since its inception, CCS has been labelled dysfunctional, accused of undermining plans to buy more from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and described as “perhaps the last and least forward-thinking people in government” by one disgruntled supplier executive. It hasn’t helped that CCS has rarely been allowed to defend itself publicly. Read through most of the Computer Weekly articles about CCS – click on some of the links in that previous paragraph, for example – and you won’t find any CCS executives quoted. The Cabinet Office has kept them quietly under lock and key, hidden behind bland press office statements. So when Computer Weekly was offered the opportunity to meet with Sarah ...

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