Public Services > Central Government

Whitehall seeks feedback over revised Technology Code of Practice

Neil Merrett Published 16 June 2016

Responses now being sought on new good practice guidance for Whitehall technology procurement; spend controls also in process of being amended


The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced its intention to update Whitehall's Technology Code of Practice that sets out preferred methods for how departments design, buy and build technology and online services for the public.

Building on the initial code that was introduced in 2013, GDS said it had released a draft document outlining the new code and was now looking for stakeholder feedback before finalising the updated guidance that will be used to examine technology needs and spending within central government.

Writing in a blog post, government chief technology officer Andy Beale said the code provides GDS with a means of engaging with central government bodies to revise and improve technology plans, but needed to be brought up to date.

"Government technology has changed a lot and huge progress has been made since the Technology Code of Practice was originally published. Our new draft takes this progress into account, while continuing our focus on the user needs that have been at the heart of the transformation of government technology," he said.

Beale said that the intention with the new code of practice was to set out a clear statement on what makes a "good approach" to technology through a flexible framework that can be used to assess individual plans.

"The new document reflects an increased focus on good commercial behaviours," he claimed.

"We also want to recognise the variety of strategic, commercial and business contexts in which government technology work happens, and enable departments and agencies to deliver great technology that meets their needs."

Four key aims have been set out by GDS to underpin how technology should be obtained and implemented.

These are:

- Set out a "mature approach" to government IT sourcing with a move away from large aggregated contracts to a preferred multi-supplier model
- Promote competition and diversity of technology suppliers to government through improved buying practices and making Whitehall a more attractive customer
- Support better decision making over whether to design or build services, or look to acquire off-the-shelf products or services
- Promote adaptive approach to technology adoption focused on good practice

"Alongside reviewing the Technology Code of Practice, we're also looking at the spend controls process and how we assess departmental technology plans. We'll be publishing more details on that in the future," Beale added.

GDS is now looking for feedback on the draft code is has put forward and the clarity of aims, with a deadline of July 8 set for submissions.

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