27 March 2009 | Jake Kanter
The threshold for referring public sector IT contracts to OJEU procedures should be raised from £130,000 to £10 million, a pressure group believes.
The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust report Database State said raising the threshold would cut the risk of delays and reduce the number of failing deals by encouraging smaller contracts that have a better chance of success.
Only a third of government IT programmes worth more than £10 million succeed, according to the report.
William Heath, one of the authors, said the low OJEU threshold encouraged the procurement of "extra large" IT deals, when the government should be focused on extracting innovation from smaller suppliers.
John Suffolk, the government's chief information officer, has also suggested the UK influence EU procurement rules to help raise the IT exemption level.
An OGC spokesman said there is no evidence that the current threshold meant public authorities were more likely to devise large and complex IT projects.
"The long timescales quoted for above-threshold procurements are a reflection of project size and complexity rather than a consequence of using the above-threshold procedures," he said. Heath also said that NHS doctors and patients, should be involved in early design and procurement discussions.
"When procurement reflects the needs of the people it's intended to help in its design and the clients are involved from the beginning, then we would have IT systems that look very different and have a much higher likelihood of success."