The government has said it will not sign off any new or planned contracts with IT suppliers for the immediate future, pending an internal review by the Cabinet Office of buying decisions.
The review is intended to ensure all future IT procurements made by the Government Procurement Service (GPS) achieve the best results for buyers and suppliers.
The review will focus on the government's IT framework agreements, which allow civil servants to buy IT services and technology without excessive procedures and extensive tendering, by offering them a list of pre-approved suppliers. An example of such a framework is the G-Cloud.
All planned IT frameworks will be paused while the review is carried out, but live ICT frameworks will continue as normal, with buying not affected.
As such a Cabinet Office spokesperson confirmed that the G-Cloud framework, which has just gone live with its second edition, boasting 458 suppliers, will not be affected by the review.
Government chief procurement officer Bill Crothers said the review is intended to ensure IT frameworks offer civil servants a wide range of suppliers, including SMEs.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary Chloe Smith said the decision to reassess the value government is getting from its frameworks would benefits both taxpayers and businesses.
"Our ICT framework agreements already remove excessive procurement procedures, but we want to make sure they are achieving the best savings and are easier and faster for both buyers and suppliers, including SMEs," she added.
Sarah Burnett, a research director at NelsonHall, warned the government's move may create more hassle than it is worth, though.
"Many of these frameworks are designed to flex the government buying power and generate savings in that way. Stalling new frameworks will have an effect on suppliers who may have already been through a costly tender process," she told V3.
"The government seems to be saying this review is in order to get more SMEs involved in procurement but I think there must be some high level request that this review occurs, possibly stemming from the train franchise problems."
One government framework likely to be affected is the Service Integration and Management framework, said Burnett.
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