Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude vows permanent rein on IT spending

The government will keep a permanently tight rein on spending controls, says Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude

The government will permanently keep a tight rein on spending controls, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said.

The announcement acts a rubber stamp for the procedures already in place, said a Cabinet Office spokesman. 

All government spend above £5m is currently subject to central Cabinet Office approval. The government estimates it will save £5bn this year as a result of the budget controls. 

Strict controls on ICT expenditure do not just reduce costs but also reveal the software, hardware and services departments are buying, said the Cabinet Office, and whether there is a competitive mix of suppliers and software standards.

The announcement comes as Francis Maude meets 20 of the government’s key suppliers to mark the next phase of its strategic supplier programme.

Under the negotiations the government hopes to take further advantage of its ability to bulk-buy at discount.

The suppliers, which represent have around £15bn in central government spending, will be asked for their feedback on the government’s approach to business over the past two years.

Maude said: “I want Whitehall procurement to become as sharp as the best businesses. 

"Today, I will tell companies that we won’t tolerate poor performance and that to work with us you will have to offer the best value for money.”

Julian David, general director at trade association Intellect, said: “We welcome the progress made to date which we hope will benefit both government and industry, including SMEs. 

"However, the big prize for the public sector will come from using information technology to transform its service delivery and that is the agenda we want to engage with now. 

"There are already examples of technology being used to improve public services but there is scope to go much further.”

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