Government And IT - "A Recipe For Rip-Offs": Time For A New Approach - Public Administration Committee Contents


Supplementary written evidence submitted by Intellect

Following the evidence Intellect gave to the Public Administration Select Committee on Tuesday 15 March, we would like to expand on four points.

1.  We referenced a number of best practice procurement tools that were developed jointly by government and industry, but have not been adopted widely across government. More detailed information is enclosed (see appendix). In particular we would like to highlight:

—  Pre-Qualification Tool—ensuring a government customer is ready to go to market.

—  Joint Statement of Intent—aligning aims and objectives between customers and suppliers.

—  Standard contract terms for ICT-enabled change projects (new, "lighter" version also under development).

These have been developed to improve the chance of delivering successful business outcomes and reduce the time and cost of the procurement process to both government and suppliers.

2.  We were very concerned about the suggestion that the technology industry may operate a cartel with no supporting evidence or information being offered to the committee. Such a suggestion is not only inaccurate and misleading, but also potentially damaging to an industry that is a vital part of the UK economy. We hope that you will share our concern.

We do agree that government's current go-to-market approach presents significant barriers to new entrants to the market, especially in terms of the change-averse culture in government and the preference given to suppliers with UK government experience. The government needs to reduce these barriers and ensure the system encourages as many companies as possible to invest in new solutions that can reform public service delivery.

A public sector market that attracts a range of suppliers, large and small, will have added benefits in that it will lead to increased investment and the creation of more high value jobs in the UK. We highlighted a number of means of achieving such an environment in our original submission to the PASC, but would be happy to provide further specifics if desired.

3.  The supplier ecosystem is extremely complex, with companies forming various partnerships and consortia and with SMEs even using large suppliers as subcontractors in some instances. We have a number of initiatives in place to facilitate better working arrangements throughout the supply chain, specifically to provide opportunities for SMEs.

One example is our Innovation Den, where SMEs pitch their innovative business propositions to representatives from central and local government and large suppliers to government. This has been highly successful to date and has allowed all participants to better understand and explore the art of the possible.

4.  We thought it would be useful to provide some clarity about Concept Viability (see appendix). This is a service offered by Intellect to the public sector that enables customers to consult with a broad range of experts from the technology industry on future procurements. It provides the industry an opportunity to comment on a potential procurement before a tender is written, within the confines of a technology-neutral environment. This helps the customer to effectively assess the potential risks associated with specific public sector technology projects before committing to a particular approach. The service has been used for over 80 public sector projects and is recommended by the National Audit Office.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to follow up on these or any other points made in our written submission or oral evidence.

March 2011

APPENDIX

SUMMARY OF PROCUREMENT TOOLS

All of the following tools were developed jointly by industry and government.

CONCEPT VIABILITY

This is a service offered by Intellect to the public sector that enables customers to consult with a broad range of experts from the technology industry on future procurements. It provides the industry an opportunity to comment on a potential procurement before a tender is written, within the confines of a technology-neutral environment. This helps the customer to effectively assess the potential risks associated with specific public sector technology projects before committing to a particular approach.

Intellect's Concept Viability service was launched in December 2003. The service has been used for over 70 public sector projects and is recommended by the National Audit Office. www.intellectuk.org/conceptviability

PRE-QUALIFICATION TOOL (PQT)

The PQT is a tool for government departments to test the readiness of a major ICT procurement. The PQT includes 20 questions, which aim to measure whether the procurement, government department, suppliers and leadership are all ready to proceed to an OJEU competition. It also gives potential suppliers an assurance about the maturity of the requirement and can inform their decisions on whether and how to bid for the work.

The Pre-Qualification Tool was published by OGC as a best practice tool in January 2009. http://www.ogc.gov.uk/About_OGC_news_8952.asp (archive website)

JOINT STATEMENT OF INTENT

The JSI is a formal agreement that is reached by the Senior Responsible Owner and the corresponding Senior Responsible Industry Executive(s) for a specific project or business change programme. It is designed to help improve the success rate of government IT programmes and projects by helping departments and their suppliers to develop a shared view of:

—  what a programme or project is intended to achieve, in respect of business outcomes and benefits, if it is to be regarded as a success;

—  how the collective project team will work together to deliver these outcomes; and

—  the potential impact of change on the programme or project (linked to the desired business outcomes rather than solely the IT).

The Joint Statement of Intent was launched as OGC best practice in January 2009. http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/ppd_it_projects_joint_statement.pdf (archive website)

MODEL AGREEMENT AND NEGOTIATING GUIDE

As with Pre-Qualification Questionnaires, contract terms and conditions tend to vary widely across government. The model agreement is aimed at reducing the amount of time spent on contract negotiations, which will generate savings for both government and industry. Intellect is also working closely with OGC and Partnerships UK to provide additional guidance for the public sector on implementing model agreements in the form of a "key issues negotiating guide".

Version 2.3 of the model agreement was published in August 2009 and the key issues negotiating guide was published in March 2010.

Version 2.3: http://www.ogc.gov.uk/About_OGC_news_9587.asp (archive website)

Negotiating guide: http://www.ogc.gov.uk/policy_and_standards_framework_the_negotiating_guide.asp

OUTCOME BASED AGREEMENTS (OBAS)

Traditional contractual agreements operate on an arms-length supply of technology services. OBAs however focus on delivering shared outcomes and the supplier is contracted to directly achieve business outcomes for and with the customer. Given the strain on public finances, it is essential to have customers and suppliers who are committed to more than just the delivery of their services or products and OBAs offer an effective way to enshrine this principle from the outset.

Intellect's report, "A guide to Outcome-Based Agreements: a better way to do business", highlights the preconditions for a successful OBA and the mechanisms to help ensure a mutually beneficial agreement. It can be accessed on www.intellectuk.org/oba


 
previous page contents next page


© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 28 July 2011