Time To Build More Open Products For Government

January 31, 2021
Procurement

Ian Makgill, Founder Spend Network

Just before Christmas, DXC (formerly Hewlett Packard) was awarded a contract for £430,000 by the Business Services Organisation for on going support of EPES system, the rationale for the contract award was as follows:

Without EPES the monthly annual payments to the independent contractors of some GBP 700 million per annum cannot be made and all EPES associated BSO Business Services and prescription fraud prevention activities will cease.

So far so good, I wouldn’t want the government not to pay contractors and I don’t think anyone would want anti-fraud activities to grind to a halt.

The problem here is that there was only one bidder and DXC could, by and large, name their price. Why was this service not open to competition?

Following a competitive procurement process a contract was signed with Hewlett-Packard now DXC on 28 July 2006. DXC retains the intellectual property rights of the entire EPES solution.

That’s right.

Despite the government specifying the system, despite paying hundreds of thousands to have it built, despite all the time spent operating and using the system, every element of the IP relating to that system belongs to the contractor.

That means that no one other than DXC can ever work on that system, no one else can improve it, no one else can develop a new module for the system and every upgrade must come from DXC.

It is a tiny monopoly all of its own.

It is time, for the governments around the world to do away with this sort of practice.

Sure, buy software where there is a fair market and reasonable competition to deliver an equivalent service. Governments shouldn’t be building their own email clients for instance, but in the current market if a provider of email software started trying to price gouge, the government can just move to another supplier.

The same principle doesn’t apply if you need bespoke software to be written, in that scenario, you need to either build it yourself or buy in the services to build the software, but that should mean buying not just the functionality but the ability to replicate that functionality in the future.

When it comes to “build or buy” the one place you should never be is paying to build and then not owning the outcome.

If you’re going to pay to build, do it with an open license, then anyone can build on it, anyone can improve on it and suppliers don’t end up with monopolies over delivery.

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss our projects or services.

September 29, 2022

£900k Government Fund To Help Charities Win Public Contracts.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is running a Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Contract Readiness Fund grant...
September 27, 2022

New EU Procurement Instrument Now Law.

About a year ago, we wrote an article on the new procurement instrument approved by the European Union. In recent weeks this...
September 20, 2022

Blacklisting Gets Tested.

Back in June we wrote about blacklisting of suppliers and the Government’s intention to prevent poorly performing suppliers from bidding for government...
September 8, 2022

UK Risks Its Place On Anti-Corruption Body

The UK has been placed ‘under review’ by the 77-country-strong Open Government Partnership (OGP) due to its failure to meet mandatory criteria...
September 8, 2022

Thurrock Exposes Transparency Blind Spot

An investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) into investments by Thurrock Borough Council has led to the resignation of the...
September 6, 2022

New Zealand Government Reviewing Procurement System.

It’s always encouraging when we see governments around the world looking to improve their procurement transparency and efficiency. The New Zealand Government...
September 1, 2022

Collecting Data For Sustainable Procurement In Construction

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at setting a sustainable procurement framework in the construction industry, and what kind...
August 30, 2022

Selecting Data For Sustainable Procurement In Construction

It is estimated that around 40-50% of natural resources are transformed into construction material, and that as much as 30% of all...
August 25, 2022

Setting A Sustainable Procurement Framework For Construction

When procuring construction projects, it can be useful to underpin sustainability criteria on existing policy and regulation. When assessing the enabling framework,...
August 18, 2022

Big Net Zero Contract Win For Small Cornish Business

A small Cornish company has purportedly won a £70bn contract to help deliver the country's transition to Net Zero. The Penzance based...
August 16, 2022

Supporting Sustainable Procurement In ICT

One of the key challenges of sustainably procuring ICT lies in the lack of transparency in supply chains. To overcome this challenge,...
August 11, 2022

Why Is Sustainable Procurement Important For The ICT Sector?

The extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, and disposal of ICT products is associated with a number of environmental, social, and...
August 10, 2022

Shifts Towards Sustainable Sourcing

A while ago,  we shared an article on findings by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum that showed procurement is responsible...
August 9, 2022

Supporting Sustainable Procurement In The Construction Industry

Construction projects are usually long and complex, involving the participation of different stakeholders throughout the different project stages. There are certain factors...
August 4, 2022

Why Is Open SPP Important In The Construction Sector?

The construction industry is estimated to account for 6% of global GDP, with Africa's construction market valued at around USD 5.4 billion...

Newsletter

Compelling research, insights and data directly into your inbox.

Recent media stories

The Times
May 30, 2022
CIPFA
August 3, 2021

Search

Scroll to Top