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Software audits cut government IT bill by £85m in 2014/15

Annual accounts for the government purchasing agency show at least £220m in technology related savings

The government saved £85m through software audits of Whitehall departments during the last financial year, contributing to more than £220m of IT savings identified by the Cabinet Office.

The audits were one of a number of IT-related contributions to £5.9bn total savings made during 2014/15 by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the central procurement agency for government, according to the latest annual accounts for CCS.

A further £57m was saved over three years by renegotiating IT contracts at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Renegotiating deals with major hardware suppliers to government is likely to contribute a further £3m per year, while the G-Cloud framework for buying cloud products and services is delivering 20% savings on average, compared with previous arrangements.

Total sales through G-Cloud since its inception in 2012 now amount to more than £640m, suggesting £128m saved in that time. Some £400m was spent through G-Cloud during the 2014/15 financial year, according to published sales figures, suggesting £80m saved in that period alone.

Sarah Hurrell, commercial director for technology, manages a team of CCS software licensing experts tasked with negotiating with major software suppliers, as well as looking at new models for procuring software, such as subscriptions to cloud-based products.

According to the CCS accounts, all the savings figures are derived by comparing with a baseline of spending in 2009/10 – the last year Labour was in government.

“As we move forward in 2015/16, there will be a relentless focus on savings delivery, continued capability improvement and increasing managed service provision in central government and – potentially – into the wider public sector,” said CCS chief executive Sally Collier in the annual report.

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“CCS is aiming to deliver between £800m and £1bn savings against a 2014/15 baseline through continued leverage of savings from spend on common goods and services, advisory support to departments’ most complex commercial transactions and through strategic supplier management,” she said.

CCS started operations in April 2014 to centralise purchasing and commercial expertise in a specialist agency in the Cabinet Office. The organisation has faced criticism from some suppliers as it seeks to change the way government deals with external providers of goods and services.

On 16 July 2015, CCS launched its latest IT purchasing framework for network services, which is estimated to save at least £59m from spend of £318m over the next four years.

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