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Government awards £4bn IT hardware framework

SMEs, as well as larger players Dell, Fujitsu and HP, to get a piece of the action

The Government Procurement Service has awarded a new framework worth a maximum £4 billion for IT hardware and solutions to 17 suppliers.

Successful suppliers named on the 12-lot contract include large companies such as Dell, Fujitsu and HP, and SMEs such as software licensing provider Academia Ltd and IT solutions provider XMA Ltd.

The framework is for standard and non-standard IT infrastructure hardware and commoditised services, including desktops, laptops, tablets, servers and printers.

Open to all organisations across the public sector, the two-year framework, which has an option to extend up to a maximum of four years, is projected to save the government £6.5 million this financial year, according to the Cabinet Office.

It was also able to cut the costs of procurement - a common complaint cited by SMEs about the barriers to getting government work - by about 22 percent from the opening bids by using eAuctions.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "[This framework] is another example of how procurement reforms are driving down the costs of government purchasing, opening up the market to suppliers of all sizes, and making a competitive range of innovative products available."

The government created Government Procurement Services last year to centralise the procurement of common goods and services, following the recommendations outlined in Sir Philip Green's efficiency review.

The review, published in October 2010, highlighted stark differences in costs that different government departments and agencies were paying for the same products. For example, departments were paying between £350 and £2,000 for the same laptop, and between £85 and £240 for the same printer cartridges from the same supplier.

By changing its procurement processes, the government believes it will help the government save £3 billion a year by 2015.

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