Out with Tech Services 3 and in with Tech Services 4 – UK govt's £12B shopping spree

Could be among the first to come under new procurement rules next year

The UK government has begun laying the groundwork for new technology buying arrangements which could become the vehicle for up to £12 billion ($15.12 billion) in spending.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has invited suppliers to talks to determine how to shape the procurement.

It intends to negotiate a new framework deal called Technology Services 4 to replace the current arrangements under Technology Services 3, which has a nominal value of £2 billion ($2.52 billion). Framework deals offer the market an indication of what might be spent via the predefined price and procurement arrangements, rather than a firm commitment.

The new deal promises to cover traditional Information & Communication Technology services, from strategy through to transition and operational deployment.

According to a tender notice kicking off the engagement with tech suppliers before the official competition starts, the plan is to hold market engagement sessions over the next six months with suppliers interested in potentially bidding for the resulting framework contract. The outcome of these discussions will help the government decide how to break the procurement down into lots.

The notice also said CCS was looking to confirm whether the new rules under the government's new Procurement Regulations, set to come into force in October next year, will benefit the Technology Services 4 procurement.

With the new rules, the UK aims to diverge from the EU-based procurement rules in what it sees as an opportunity to make public buying suit the country's needs. The government hopes the new rules will make the process simpler, quicker, more transparent, and less bureaucratic.

Among the changes include a "debarment register," which is set to list suppliers who have previously under-performed. There will also be an emphasis on "leveling up" the UK's unevenly performing economy by keeping more public money within the nation's borders.

Supplier events are set to take place for the new framework deal in October and November. The competition for places on the potentially lucrative deal is set to begin in October 2024, when the contract notice is due to be published. ®

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