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New measures announced for public sector contracts

Monday 26th November, 2018

Cabinet Office Minister, David Lidington has announced new measures to deliver better public services and use contracts as a “force for good”.

In his recent speech given to the Business Services Association Mr Lidington announced by summer 2019 government procurements will be required to take social and economic benefits into account in certain priority areas.

This follows a package of measures launched in June to promote a healthy and diverse marketplace of companies bidding for government contracts, including small businesses, mutuals, charities, co-operatives and social enterprises.

The government is also taking steps to improve the design of outsourcing projects from their inception. From next year, new complex outsourcing projects will be piloted with the private sector before deciding to roll the service out fully with these suppliers.

Mr Lidington said , “By engaging earlier with the market on the design of outsourcing projects and by requiring pilots for new services, we will learn from experience and deliver better public services for taxpayers.”

It was also announced that government suppliers are drawing up their plans in the unlikely event of business failure where another may need to step in.

Capita, Serco and Sopra Steria have volunteered to lead the way in this new best practice. They will complete their ‘living wills’ within weeks with other key suppliers set to follow.

The Minister said, “Carillion was a complex business and when it failed it was left to government to step in - and it did. But we did not have the benefit of key organisational information that could have smoothed the management of the liquidation.

By ensuring contingency plans can be quickly put in place in the very rare event of supplier failure, we will be better prepared to maintain continuity of critical public services.”