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The £3bn Technology Services 2 framework is now live, with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) claiming more than 60% of the suppliers who secured a place on it are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
A total of 160 suppliers secured places on the framework, and 100 of them are classified as SMEs.
The previous iteration of the framework, which expired in May 2017 and contained half the number of suppliers of its replacement, was introduced to encourage and support public sector organisations in sourcing specialist IT services from a wider pool of suppliers.
The new version aims to build on the progress made on this front, while also helping public sector organisations save £180m over the course of four years by making it easier and more efficient for them to procure IT services.
For instance, CCS has introduced an agency element to the framework for the first time, which gives public sector organisations the option to nominate a supplier to act as an agent who can buy-in goods and services from other frameworks on their behalf.
The framework is divided into four main lots, and is on course to run for two years, with the option to extend by a further two if needed.
The aforementioned Lots cover, Technology Strategy and Service Design, Transition and Transformation, Operational Services and Programmes and Large Projects.
The fourth lot consists of two additional sub lots that cover the procurement of services used to handle data classified as “official and above” under the Government Security Classifications scheme.
Niall Quinn, director of the technology strategic category for CCS, said: “This framework delivers significant commercial benefits and gives more SMEs than ever the chance to deliver specialist technology support to the UK public sector.”
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The roll-out of the framework comes hot on the heels of a report by Computer Weekly in August 2017 that suggests the proportion of public sector IT sales being awarded to SMEs is falling.
This is based on an historical analysis of the Digital Marketplace spending figures, which show cumulative spend through its various frameworks between 2012 and 2017 now stands at £2.6bn, with 46% of that (£1.2bn) going to SMEs.
However, as pointed out by Computer Weekly, the previous set of figures – charting spend between 2012 and the end of 2016 – show SMEs accounted for 56% of the total Digital Marketplace spend, suggesting the proportion of sales awarded to SMEs during 2017 has fallen.