Francis Maude to reform government ICT hosting
Minister intends plans for mutuals to run ICT hosting to be developed by Christmas
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the government wants to consolidate its ICT hosting and use collective requirements to run it.
"I'm particularly keen to explore mutualising it," Maude told the first meeting of the Top 180 group of civil service IT professionals."I've asked my IT reform team to come up with proposals by Christmas and I hope you will contribute to their work with your own energy and ideas."
The minister told the event at Methodist Central Hall in London that the government spends more than £1.2bn a year on hosting. Much of that is spent with just one or two suppliers and government is not getting value for money.
"Recently a big systems integrator and an SME bid on the Cloudstore for hosting. The systems integrator bid £4m. The SME bid £50,000," he said.
Maude said that the shift to open standards is another "hugely important reform", allowing government to interoperate so that it does not have to build the same systems 30 or 40 times.
"What's more, these standards will improve competition for government contracts, allowing us to open up to a larger number of suppliers and encourage innovation in government IT," he told the conference.
It is crucial that government catches up with the levels of digital services provided by the private sector, according to the minister.
"I know that already over the last 18 months we have made progress on this agenda," he said. "It was imperative given the economic and financial challenges we faced that we did get moving quickly."
The minister was speaking on the day when the Cabinet Office published new guidelines on open standards, designed to drive more innovation and greater savings in IT.