The Office of Government Commerce has launched two new tools to help improve the public sector's success rate of its IT projects.

The first is a 'pre-qualification tool' (PQT) that was launched to help guide government departments through IT procurement. Alongside this is a 'joint statement of intent' (JSI), which aims to ensure the government and its suppliers are clear about project objectives from the start.

Both initiatives are being made available by the Office of Government Commerce, whose remit is to improve the value gained from government projects. They were commissioned by the CIO Council and the Government-Industry Strategic Supply Board as part of wider supplier management changes.

The news comes a month after a National Audit Office report said the government was wasting up to £300 million each year by failing to properly manage its suppliers. Whitehall spends around £12 billion each year on IT.

The PQT “looks to strengthen the likelihood of achieving positive outcomes, providing better value for money for the taxpayer”, the OGC said. It aims to help senior responsible owners on projects to assess the market, the procurement itself, and the readiness of the government department, before the tendering process.

“Failure in any one of these measures indicates that the planned procurement will fail to deliver the intended outcome, which at best can cause a delay in the procurement,” the OGC said.

A joint statement of intent, developed by the Ministry of Defence in conjunction with the IT industry, will also be available for government departments and their suppliers. It is a template document, which “clearly presents agreed objectives and requirements of the programme or project”, the OGC said, providing “a clear and mutual understanding of what is expected from both the supplier and contractor”.

The statement is aimed at improving results and making the government “a better client”, the OGC said. It spells out exactly what a project is expected to achieve, how delivery teams will function, and the potential for change to the scope of the project as needs evolve.

Nigel Smith, chief executive at the OGC, said it was “vital” to ensure government IT projects were successful and delivered value for money. “Every effort must be taken by those working in public sector procurement to ensure they get it right from the outset, and mitigate any risks in achieving desired outcomes,” he said.

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