The UK Public Sector – Market Insight
The UK public sector is a huge technology market, with an annual technology spend estimated at £14.8bn a year, excluding people costs. The public sector is increasingly dependent on new technologies to transform citizens’ experiences of doing business with government, meet ongoing fiscal pressures, and respond to Government priorities, such as Brexit.
Central government departments and their agencies are responsible for overseeing the nation’s security and national affairs, delivering essential services and implementing government policy. Ultimately, government departments, their ministers and civil servants account to Parliament for their delivery, and most of the work undertaken by central government is subject to intense scrutiny.
It is estimated that central government currently spends £6.9bn a year on technology, excluding people costs.
Digital transformation is at the heart of government’s reform agenda, and is making government more efficient, more responsive to citizen needs, and more innovative in delivering its services. There are a number of key policies which set the scene for any technology provider that does business, or aspires to do business with government.
These policies drive public sector digital delivery agendas, and are in many cases mandatory for central government. Policies that are mandated for central government are also strongly recommended for the wider public sector:
- The Industrial Strategy is a plan to boost the economy, build on the country’s strengths and embrace the opportunities of technological change, and aims to make the UK the world’s most innovative nation by 2020. Technology, data, and reformed procurement practices are at its heart. Click here for further reading.
- The Digital Strategy is government’s plan to keep the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution in the wake of its impending exit from the European Union. It includes plans to offer digital skills to millions of individuals, charities and businesses by 2020. Click here for further reading.
- Government’s SME policy recognises that SMEs are the engine that drives the UK’s economic growth, and many initiatives and policies in play to make it easier for SMEs to business with government. Click here for further reading.
- The Government Transformation Strategy sets out how digital technology will change the way government does business, and make that change at pace and scale. Click here for further reading.
- The Government Digital Service (GDS) Service Standard is a set of 18 criteria to help government create and run digital services. All public facing transactional services must meet the standard. Click here for further reading.
- Government’s Cloud First policy means that public sector organisations should consider cloud solutions before alternatives, unless an alternative demonstrates better value for money. This approach is mandatory for central government and strongly recommended for the wider public sector. Click here for further reading.
- The Cloud Security Guidance and Standards are the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) advice on how to configure, deploy and use cloud services securely. Click here for further reading.
Public Sector Buying
Most public sector buying is regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 which is predicated on transparency, free and open competition and value for money.
Government’s over-riding procurement policy that all public procurement must be based on value for money, defined as “the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay over the period of use of the goods or services bought”. This must be achieved through competition, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.
The government aligns its procurement policies with this legal framework, as well as with its wider policy objectives – for example requiring buyers to consider the wider societal and economic outcomes of their buying activity, and ensuring that SMEs are not disadvantaged in public procurements through unreasonable barriers to entry.
Crown Commercial Service
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) combines policy, advice and direct buying together in a single organisation to:
- make savings for customers in both central government and the wider public sector
- achieve maximum value from every commercial relationship
- improve the quality of service delivery for common goods and services across government
CCS works with over 17,000 customer organisations in the public sector and its services are provided by more than 5,000 suppliers.
The Digital Marketplace
The Digital Marketplace is an online service to help all public sector organisations find cloud technology and specialist services for digital projects. It incorporates 3 framework agreements:
- G-Cloud – for cloud services (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and specialist cloud support)
- Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) for digital outcomes, digital specialists and user research services
- Crown Hosting Data Centres for physical datacentre space
All UKCloud’s services are available on the Digital Marketplace, through G-Cloud. You can browse UKCloud’s services by searching on “UKCloud” in the Digital Marketplace.
Technology Services 2
The Technology Services 2 (TS2) framework agreement aims to be the preferred customer route to market for sourcing Technology Services and Transformational Support. UKCloud’s services can also be purchased via TS2.
Other purchasing organisations
There are a number of other purchasing organisations that specialise in buying on half of the wider public sector:
How to become a public sector supplier
Although the UK public sector has historically been seen as a difficult market to access, government has made a great deal of effort and progress in making the market an easier place to do business with, particularly for SMEs and new market entrants.
Opportunities exist for suppliers to do direct business, or indirectly through the supply chain. By law, central government must publish all opportunities with an anticipated value of £10,000+ on Contracts Finder , whilst Health and central sub-contracting authorities must publish opportunities with an anticipated value of £25,000+.
If you are interested in partnering with UKCloud to deliver services to the UK public sector, please visit our partner page.
Supplier Code of Conduct
The Supplier Code of Conduct outlines the standards and behaviours that the government expects of all its suppliers.
CCS guidance for suppliers
More guidance from CCS on becoming a supplier to government can be found here.