Government tech contracts should have more flexibility

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Government tech contracts should have more flexibility

Simon Quicke

A report into the mistakes made by the government when it buys IT has recommended more flexibility in the procurement process and a move away from 'locked down' contracts.

The 'System Error: fixing the flaws in government IT' report has been published by the Institute for Government looking into just how the £16bn spent annually on technology can be better spent.

Having identified from the outset that most government IT projects bare flawed the report then goes onto make several recommendations that might have consequences for the channel.

One of the main ideas behind the report is to establish a common platform across government departments based as much as possible on open standards.

"IT should be purchased as commodity items across government and should include well established parts of IT infrastructure (e.g. non-specialist PCs, printers, low tier storage and standard servers) and basic versions of software (e.g., common desktop applications, human resources and finance packages)," stated the report.

The report also recommends that projects are split up to make them more agile and to reduce the likelihood that terms will change and the orginal contract becomes out of date.

One of the report's recommendations is that more projects are done in a more agile way in the next fiscal year.

"During 2011/12 all government departments should run several upcoming projects using agile development principles. The exact number should be guided by the size of the department and collectively be weighty enough to act as a real catalyst for change within the department," it stated.

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