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GDS builds cross-government IT contract dashboard

Common Technology Services director Iain Patterson wants to strengthen the relationship with departments and industry

The Common Technology Services (CTS) arm of the Government Digital Service (GDS) is collaborating with Whitehall departments to build an IT contract dashboard to record the technology and change portfolio across government.

In a blog post, CTS chief Iain Patterson outlined his vision to strengthen its partnership with both departments and the IT industry. CTS has done work to build a cross-government IT contract dashboard, currently in a beta testing stage.

Patterson said in his blog post that the dashboard will be expanded to “record the technology, capability and change portfolio across government”.

“These will help us understand why departments are requesting money to spend on their IT, the impact of the changes they want to make, and to help prevent them building or buying something which is available elsewhere in government,” he said.

In last year’s spending review, GDS was handed a £450m budget in return for an expected £3.5bn in savings, with CTS accounting for £1.1bn.

Patterson, who returned to GDS in December last year after a stint as chief technology officer at the DVLA, said he wants to strengthen the partnerships with departments and the IT industry.

“We want clearer pricing, a clearer pipeline of common and commodity products and services, more flexible terms and better value for taxpayers,” he said.

CTS is also talking to departments to understand the technology challenges they are facing and is developing a set of solutions to help them.

“A secure email blueprint is already available while we are trialling a solution for shared printing and cross-government Wi-Fi,” he said.

As government departments are moving away from large outsourcing deals, CTS will be “working with lots of departments and agencies to help them work out how to exit those contracts and what to do next as part of a cross-Cabinet Office Strategic Support Team Initiative,” Patterson said.

Earlier this year, the Cabinet Office conducted a review of government IT contract strategy after acknowledging that many existing outsourcing deals were bad for taxpayers. The review – dubbed "Ocean liner" – aimed to establish new principles to help manage the move away from the many long-term outsourcing contracts that are due to expire during the current parliament.

CTS will also work with the IT industry to find the right technologies for departments.

“Where needed, we’ll work with departments to design, buy and build user-focused services, and in some cases we’ll help define standards for suppliers, and identify those who can deliver against them, Patterson added.

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