UK gov’t reviews procurement, digital engagement

LONDON — The U.K. Cabinet Office has started a review of its overall digital engagement strategy.

The move is outlined in the Cabinet Office’s four-year business plan, published on the, site and is one of 17 documents defining government departments’ strategies until 2015. The publications are part of the prime minister David Cameron’s efforts to establish a more transparent government.

The Cabinet Office said that it will be looking at the future role of citizen information website Directgov as part of its digital engagement strategy review, which is due to be completed this month.

Also for November, the business plan outlined a mandate to shift selected government services online. From January 2011 the Cabinet Office will begin reviewing websites that could be decommissioned and it will release the first quarterly data on the number of central government websites in May next year.

The Cabinet Office intends to implement a new digital engagement strategy, move services online and decommission websites by June 2011.

IT procurement is also addressed by the business plan. Initiatives include publishing a report to outline a new approach to IT procurement that will have shorter timescales, be less costly to all parties, and enable more SMEs to take part.

One project that the Cabinet Office has not delivered on time is publishing guidance on the presumption that IT projects should not exceed £100 million in total value and the government’s plans to reduce the scale of large IT projects. This publication was due in August.

However, the government has started to evaluate its existing procurement rules to ensure a ‘level playing field’ for open source software, which will be completed by the end of the year.