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Public Sector Procurement: Digital Goods and Services

Volume 748: debated on Thursday 25 April 2024

13. What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of public sector procurement of digital goods and services. (902501)

The Government recognise how vital digital products and services are for delivering public services. The digital, data and technology playbook provides best practice guidance for the procurement of digital products and services. The playbook is updated annually, most recently in June 2023. Departments are responsible for ensuring that public services delivered by the private sector represent value for money.

Digital services procurement should be a win, win, win: the British public get better services, businesses get a good and reliable customer, and public services are reduced in cost. However, that is not the case under this Government. Departments are locked into single-source providers and dependent on legacy systems. The National Audit Office itself said that procurement was not competitive enough. As an example of that, can the Minister say how competitive cloud service provision is across his Government? Will he set out how he is using open source to boost competitiveness in digital services procurement?

We have a highly successful commercial function in Government, which is driving up value for money across all our commercial arrangements. It monitors contracts, before, during and after they have been in place, to ensure that we reduce the chances of issues such as lock-in. I strongly advise the hon. Lady to go and read the commercial function documentation—

I am sure she has not. She should read the commercial function documentation that comes out of the Cabinet Office, because she will see, as has been shown successively, that it saves billions of pounds for the British taxpayer.