SMEs comprise 15% of DWP system integrators' supply chains

SME technology contractors comprise an average of 15% of the suppliers to system integrators at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

SME technology contractors comprise an average of 15% of the supply chains of system integrators working for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), according to DWP commercial director David Smith.

The DWP is in talks with seven system integrators – including HP, CSC, Atos and BT – to discover how many smaller companies they have working on government projects.

However, observers have questioned whether encouraging system integrators to use more SMEs would be the best route for small businesses seeking public sector contracts.

Smith estimated that around 17% of DWP contracts are awarded to SMEs. He said technology SMEs played a key role in DWP projects.

“Technology SMEs contribute a huge amount of innovation to government,” Smith told Computer Weekly at the Public Sector Efficiency Expo.

The government’s target is to increase the number of contracts it has with SMEs to 25%. Government recently said it had increased the SME target from 7% to 12% across all Whitehall contracts.

But SME contractor numbers are expected to increase as large procurements are broken up, said Smith. “Leaner procurement processes will enable more SMEs,” he said.

Bill Crothers, group commercial director at the Home office, said that in future the government would open up its contract pipeline for each sector: “There’s a big push in Number 10, the Department for Business and the Cabinet Office to make pipelines publicly available for all sectors.” 

Crothers said this would enable more companies to engage with the public sector and drive down costs through transparency.

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