back to article Big tech's grip loosens on IT spend

UK government IT spending is still dominated by a few big suppliers – but they are losing some of their grip, according to publicly released data and Freedom of Information responses covering five of the biggest-spending organisations. Last year, the Cabinet Office said the three biggest IT suppliers across central government …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't know if this is typical, but TfL rules had (not sure if it's changed recently) all sorts of rules about SMEs being able to supply and so on, make sure no disadvantage and in some areas make sure you favour small to medium businesses, subject to agreement of internal departments. It's possible I misunderstood things when i was told that the internal IT team guidelines said minimum turnover of £50m to qualify as a supplier, no matter what.

    Of course, it's quite possible I did not misunderstand at all. One set of published "rules", then some internal "guidelines" to keep things as they were.

  2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Some familiar names...

    ...but I was surprised not to see Capita's name mentioned anywhere. I know they do a lot of general services stuff, but they have a few fingers in a few very IT-centric pies.

    1. SA_Mathieson

      Re: Some familiar names...

      Capita is certainly a big supplier to government, and I found £442m spent with the group across the five departments - although that's still less than Aspire at HMRC. The problem is as you say that Capita provides all sorts of services, and trying to work out what was IT and what wasn't would have been tricky. Also I noted that the Cabinet Office, which presumably can demand information rather than using FoI and open data, didn't have Capita on its list of IT suppliers (

  3. Dave 15

    The rules mean

    The rules mean that NO sme will get a look in - especially British ones

    First, the British based SMEs can only offer the civil servants doing the ordering a trip to Barnsley or whatever, this maybe nice enough but clearly not nearly as exciting as all expenses paid trips to the south of France, Munich beer festival (sorry, the Munich office), Las Vegas etc. to 'meet the team', 'discuss technical details', 'thrash out the contract'

    Second, and less cynical, the review process always checks multi years of accounts - no startup will qualify as it hasn't enough accounts, no small company can provide the 'guarantee of staying in business'. Of course paying bills on time and escrowing the code etc. would prevent this being an issue but the rule is the rule guvnor

    Third and finally, there is always the matter of experience, cap gemini, bt et al as companies have all done projects of the right type scale and magnitude (usually failed to deliver or charged multiple times the original estimate but they did do them). SMEs don't have that, the sme might be a collection of all the people at cap gem who worked on the project but the sme hasn't done the project. Where as cap G have, the fact they will outsource it to Bangalore where no one on the team worked for the company yesterday never mind on the previous projects doesnt matter..

    So, government may say things but it continues to operate against UK companies at every turn it can make. Not just in IT but in absolutely everything it ever does.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So the same big players in different chairs.

    BTW When they say "Oh we go with BT/Cap Geminie/HP/Uncle Tom Cobley because they did project whatever" what they don't often realize is that in fact their "supplier" lined up a specialist company that did know WTF they were doing, had their people come in and do the job.

    Big Suppliers role is basically.

    Have the funds to survive a decision taking years to make.

    Produce and maintain all the BS paperwork to "prove" they are compliant whatever they have to be compliant with (this will have nothing to do with actual useful information to assist in doing the project) but is vital to getting paid.

    Find out who can actually do the work.

    Explain to them that if they don't "partner" with us they don't have the necessary "credibility" with HMG to do the work.

    Issue the ID badges with their company logo on it.

    Take the money off the government.

    BT/Cap Geminie/HP/Fujitsu are the Uber of the IT business.

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