ONS hopes to buy from SMES for upcoming £30m ICT framework

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is hoping to contract with SMEs for its upcoming £30 million ICT framework, which will support most of its technology needs over the next five years.

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is hoping to contract with SMEs for its upcoming £30 million ICT framework, which will support most of its technology needs over the next five years.

The department, which is responsible for producing a wide range of key economic and social statistics, has said that the framework will be “imperative” in helping it address challenges going forward.

“Not only are we the largest producer of official statistics, we are the only government department that has that as its main role. Our statistics drive decisions made across the country. As our nation becomes ever more complex, so the challenges facing ONS become more acute and the need to develop our Statistical business together with our supporting IT becomes more imperative,” the ONS said.

“To meet those challenges, the next five years will see a shift in emphasis that will start to change ONS from an inherently survey based organisation, to one which benefits increasingly from exploiting administrative data, supplementing and informing the surveys already conducted.”

The ONS is looking to procure a disaggregated IT service tower model – made up of towers that include data centre services, network and telecommunications, infrastructure, end user computing and printing. Business applications are in-house and will remain that way. 

IT service towers are a becoming a popular choice among government departments. It requires ‘towers’ to be set up – such as desktops, networks, applications – which can be provided by different suppliers, but are all typically managed by one company throughout the implementation process, and provided across a whole organisation.

The department will be holding a market engagement event in Newport, Wales, on 18 February for suppliers to discuss potential contract opportunities. As part of this the ONS has said it is “particularly interested in engaging with small/medium enterprises to help it understand how best to shape contract opportunities that are attractive to SMEs either by means of direct contract or as a sub-contractor to a ‘prime contractor’”.

The official procurement exercises will take place during 2014.

The ONS’ plan to increase its work with SMEs sits well with the government’s vision to increase its total spend with smaller businesses to 25 percent by 2015. It is hoped that this can be done through a number of new frameworks – such as the G-Cloud – and by breaking up monolithic contracts with bit suppliers that have dominated Whitehall for years.

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