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2011 | Adam Leach
sector procurement must enter a “new world” that takes full advantage of the
innovative solutions available from small and medium enterprises, Cabinet
Office minister Francis Maude has said.
yesterday at the Innovation Launch Pad Product Surgery event, Maude called on
government buyers to search out the brightest and best products and services on
offer in the marketplace, whether from large-scale contractors or small
said: “We as buyers need to be up-to-speed with the innovative solutions out
there. There’s been good progress so far but not enough.”
to an audience of senior government procurement professionals, the minister
called for an increased focus on what solutions were needed. “We need to be
absolutely relentless across the public sector in specifying what we need – not
how we get it,” he said. To the SME representatives in the audience he said:
“Tell us if we’re procuring in the old way – that old world needs to go, we
need a new world.”
also demanded an increase in the speed of payments between contractors and
sub-contractors. He will be asking government departments to check that all
contractors pay sub-contractors within 30 days.
event marked the conclusion of a competition to uncover some of the most
innovative products available from SMEs, with nine companies given the chance
to pitch to government buyers and a specially selected Dragons’ Den-style
security firm Becrypt pitched a USB stick
which applied a secure interface to any system it was plugged into, thus
enabling employees to access government networks with any computer instead of
requiring a specialist laptop. The pitch was the most popular of the day, with
purchasers excited by the prospect of using laptops given to staff for other
purposes. Becrypt is currently trialling the project with a London council and
expects it will create savings of £450,000.
well received was the pitch from HotDocs. Its offering is a
secure, collaborative programme for creating documents enabling Child
Support Agency staff to work on the same case file at the same time without
having to physically add pages to a folder. The programme is already being used
by the Royal Bank of Scotland and is claimed to have reduced costs by as much
as 90 per cent.
Cambridge Temperature Concepts (CTC) pitched its DuoFertility sensors, which, through data analysis, indicate
when a woman is at her peak to conceive. CTC said the NHS would only have to
pay £2,500 per pregnancy, which is cheaper than IVF treatment.
Appointments to discuss some of the pitches in more
detail are now being arranged.
Office Innovation Launch Pad finalists:
Becrypt: IT security firm offering secure operating system on
a USB stick.
HotDocs: Software company providing collaborative
HealthAnalytics: Analysing NHS data to identify patients in
need of preventative treatment.
AdInfa: Energy management company, aiming to increase
efficiency of government data centres.
CatN: Web-hosting company, looking to host government
sites through cloud computing.
CambridgeTemperature Concepts: Using data analysis to identify peak time for
women to conceive.
MyWorkSearch: Optimised search engine and job finding
Online expense forms and travel management software.
LearningPool: E-learning portal to provide training for the