Procurement's digital future

18 June 2009
This week the government published its Digital Britain report into the future of how the UK will make the most of technology in the future. The report (which can be downloaded here) contains a few interesting suggestions for purchasers. The government is going to establish a Network Design and Procurement Group to oversee the spending of £200 million to establish the UK's super-fast broadband network. A CEO of the group will be appointed in the Autumn. Perhaps this is an opportunity for a current CPO to use their buying experience to make the step up ? It also mentioned the need for a step-change in the way the public sector buys IT, which is being enhanced by greater skills training. In future when a supplier wins a government contract they will be compelled to provide a formal training plan for the staff on that project. There was also the recommendation that all major public sector IT procurements should be signed-off by the government’s chief information officer. This should be a big disappointment for the procurement profession. Why should it be the decision of the CIO, who is essentially the internal customer in the project? This should be the role of the government’s chief buyer (and another glaring example of the problems caused because the government does not have an overall CPO, as it does for IT). At the very least it should be the role of the head of the OGC, who is meant to represent the government's buyers.
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