07 September 2000 | David Arminas
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is to join mobile phone company Vodafone to study the effect of wireless application protocol (Wap) technologies on the government's e-procurement agenda.
The study is part of wider analysis of e-procurement by the OGC and two-year deal with Vodafone to supply mobile telephone services to all central and local government bodies, saving £38 million.
Peter Gershon, the OGC's chief executive, said: "Over the next two years, we will gain a better understanding of the government's needs in this field and return to the market as a more intelligent customer."
Mobile phones users will have flexibility, said Andrew Bowen, deputy director in the managed service division of the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), an executive agency of the OGC. "It allows for equipment to be upgraded as the technologies improve," he added.
Vodafone has given the government "favoured nation status", said Gershon. As tariffs decline generally, the contract tariffs will also be reduced. Improvements in billing procedures will add to savings, which will be kept by departments and agencies rather than going to the Treasury.
"The CCTA and Vodafone will now put a joint marketing plan in place and go out to sell it to the departments and agencies," Gershon added.
He called the Vodafone contract one of the "quick wins" that he had pledged to achieve when he took office in April. Other target areas include hotels, non-military vehicles and management consultancy contracts.
The OGC, which oversees the government's purchasing activities, was formed last April and incorporates several previously autonomous procurement agencies such as the CCTA.