The UK Government has suddenly called over a dozen leaders from major IT companies to offer suggestions and advise to the public sector on ways to improve its digital services.
Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock welcomed top executives from global firms, including Goldman Sachs, LoveFilm, Facebook and Amazon. The minister announced that the tech figures would help the public sector build new infrastructure.
The IT leaders will offer advice, support and even challenge the government so that it provides better services. Also, they will study and analyse how emerging IT and digital trends can be incorporated into the public services.
The group will be called the Government Digital Services advisory board and will meet every quarter. The chair of the board will be Stephen Foreshew-Cain, who used to be part of Capgemini and Accenture.
The board will have a total of 450 technology experts, including the founders of Lastminute.com and Acorn Computers. Members will include Even Hermann Hauser and Baroness Lane Fox along with the top brass from renowned organisations such as Aviva, ASOS, The Open Data Institute, Improbable and Savvify.
The setting up of the board with 13 members from the private sector demonstrates the government’s attempt to foster a closer relationship with the commercial IT sector. Hancock announced earlier in February that plans were afoot to set up a cyber-innovation centre. This centre would support early-stage start-ups to commercialise their products and services.
In the past, Whitehall has faced a lot of criticism for leaving out small and medium-sized businesses, and awarding IT contracts to large companies. However, this criticism is now slowly abating. The updates in the Digital Marketplace reveal the government’s IT contracts have reached the £1 billion mark, and about half of the contracts were issued to small and medium-sized enterprises. Sales through G-Cloud as of December 2015 reached £959.5 million, with 51% going to small IT firms. So, an IT contractor dealing with government contracts is definitely enjoying more success now than in the past.
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