Government's technology procurement: TS3 focus – Open Access Government

The Crown Commercial Service recently launched the Technology Services 3 framework. This framework covers a diverse range of services from IT strategy through to the provision of IT support desks.
While this may seem like a routine framework launch, it has the potential to have a big impact on the way the UK Government procures technology services. Most importantly, it has the opportunity to change the landscape of suppliers – namely by allowing more SMEs to compete and ultimately win, contracts in this space.
Perhaps the most notable thing about Technology Services 3 so far is the sheer diversity of suppliers it incorporates – there are 263 now approved on the framework. Of those 60% are SMEs, a very creditable figure in a sector where multinational tech giants often loom large.
The Government doesn’t just want more SME suppliers on the framework – they want to see them win key contracts. To that end, the framework is divided into several lots, to ensure not just the most efficient sourcing is achieved but also that SMEs are not locked out of contracts by briefs being too broad.
For departments, this approach of the framework should also pay dividends. It will make them less reliant on single suppliers and will enable them to move in a more agile manner. By ensuring you have fewer large single-supplier contracts, you get more competitive bidding processes which, in turn, are likely to lead to greater value for money being achieved.
“The Government doesn’t just want more SME suppliers on the framework – they want to see them win key contracts.”
While value for money is important, money is not the be-all and end-all. The debate across the public sector is becoming increasingly focused on how social value can be achieved through procurement processes.
Departments using Technology Services 3 will have the opportunity to make social value comprise up to 10% of the total evaluation criteria. Exactly what social value criteria are used is at the discretion of the department – it could impact organisations have in socially deprived communities, it could be ESG standards, or it could be how many apprentices the organisation takes on.
Whatever social value metrics a department chooses to use, the key thing is this allows them to move away from a rigid system based on economic value alone. That should again feed into the objective of awarding more contracts to SMEs.
Ultimately, the Technology Services 3 framework is the step in the right direction which will allow departments to procure more flexibly while also working to achieve key government policy goals.
Find out more about the Technology Services 3 on the Crown Commercial Service website, here. Under this framework, services ranging from strategy and design to operational deployment can be purchased by public sector customers.
 
Earlier this year, Open Access Government reports that Crown Commercial Service launches the Technology Services 3 (TS3) framework, which includes over 250 suppliers.
Crown Commercial Service explains how the Technology Services 3 update enables ‘full lifecycle’ technology services for the public sector in an article written for Open Access Government earlier in 2021.


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