Government Digital Service’s Iain Patterson outlines vision for new contracts

Common Technology Service director details joined-up approach to handle “£8bn in contract exits”

By Jim Dunton

06 Jun 2016

Departments planning to migrate to new IT systems over the next four years can expect the Government Digital Service to provide a package of help that is “so compelling” that it will be their first choice, a senior technology director has said.

Iain Patterson, director of the GDS’s Common Technology Service, said the coming years would see a significant shift towards cloud-based IT solutions and shared technology components.

In his latest blog post, he said £8bn of government IT contracts were due to end during the course of the current parliament, more than half of them within the next two years. 

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Patterson said a package was in development that would help departments assess the impact of the changes they wanted to make and help prevent them from building or buying something that was available elsewhere in government.

He said said many departments felt held back by legacy technology and equipment that was no-longer fit for purpose, and that the contract dashboard was part of a GDS drive to help departments maximise the opportunities of soon-to-end IT contracts.

“We’re working with our colleagues throughout the Cabinet Office, including the Crown Commercial Service, to build a cross-government IT contract dashboard, which is now in beta,” he said.

“We’ll expand this dashboard to record the technology, capabilities and change portfolio across government.

“We’re doing all of this collaboratively with departments, and the idea is to make everything available for all of government.

“What we want to do is create an approach so compelling that departments will want use it by choice.”

Patterson said specific support was being provided for major contract exits as part of a cross-Cabinet Office Strategic Support Team initiative.

He said the initiative would build on the on the GDS’s learnings from the past few years, and provide “ever greater transparency” to the government IT sector.

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