The Cabinet Office has announced it will be taking a tougher line with IT suppliers and making the checking process it carries out on many central government IT contracts permanent.
In 2010, the Cabinet Office enforced spending controls on all central government departments. This meant either the government's chief information officer or deputy would have to personally sign off departmental IT supply contracts worth over £5m, or £1m for back office systems.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said these IT controls, along with similar ones exerted on Whitehall's advertising, recruitment, property and consultancy spend, had saved the taxpayer £3.75bn from 2010 to 2011.
Meanwhile savings for 2011 to 2012 are currently being audited but are expected to top £5bn.
The Cabinet Office has long argued that the idea of such controls is not only to reduce costs but also to ensure central government maintains a competitive mix of suppliers and software standards across government.
"Our cross-Whitehall controls on spending have made billions of cash savings for the taxpayer - something that has never been done before," said Maude.
"That's why I'm pleased to confirm that our controls will be a permanent feature, helping to change fundamentally the way government operates."
The Cabinet Office has also revealed new plans to monitor suppliers' performance across central government as a whole.
This means that formal information on a supplier's performance will be available and will be taken into consideration at the start of and during the procurement process (pre-contract). Suppliers with poor performance may therefore find it more difficult to secure new work with the government.
"I want Whitehall procurement to become as sharp as the best businesses. I will tell companies that we won't tolerate poor performance and that to work with us you will have to offer the best value for money," added Maude.
Maude held a roundtable on Thursday with 20 of its most significant suppliers, including IBM, BT and Capgemini, which altogether represent around £15 billion worth of central government contract spend.
According to a Cabinet Office briefing that V3 attended on Monday, Maude will have discussed securing new deals with the suppliers, similar to those he has so far secured with Oracle, Microsoft and SAP which are set to save it at least £80m
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