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Call for information on the supply of Information and Communications Technology to the public sector

Start date: 3 July 2013
End date: 15 October 2013

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The OFT launched a Call for Information (CFI) into the supply of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to the public sector on 3 July 2013. The aim of the CFI was to understand more clearly the ICT products and services involved, who supplies them, the structure and operation of these important markets and the degree of competition between suppliers.

The OFT has published a summary report of its findings from the CFI (pdf 418kb). Responses to the CFI highlighted a number of concerns, most notably:

  • that certain businesses appear to have a large share of contracts in some areas of the sector
  • high barriers to entry and expansion (especially for smaller scale ICT businesses)
  • difficulties and high costs in switching.

The OFT has decided that such issues merit further analysis. Accordingly we have launched a market study in order to examine whether competition in this sector could work better and the reasons why it may not be working as well as it could.

In looking at the supply of ICT to the public sector, the OFT will examine two key areas of the ICT sector where issues raised in response to the CFI appear to be present and which between them make up around half of UK public sector ICT expenditure. These are:

  • Commercial off the shelf software: all types of software commercially available to different organisations, which have not been individually tailored to those organisations' needs. Examples which we may look at include management information and revenues and benefits systems that may be used by a range of public sector organisations, such as schools and local authorities.
  • Outsourced IT: the contracting of private sector suppliers to build and/or manage public sector organisations' IT infrastructure and applications (software designed for non-technical users). Examples which we may look at include the building, running and maintenance of IT systems and applications for public sector organisations.

For further information, see our market study page.

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Team Leader: Susan Oxley (020 7211 8265
Project Director:  Tony Donaldson (020 7211 8784
Senior Responsible Officer: Nisha Arora (020 7211 8853

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