Yesterday, the OFT announced the launch of a market study into the supply of information and communications technology goods and services to the public sector – you can see the full press release from the OFT here.

The release noted in particular that the study “will focus on the degree of competition between the companies which supply these goods and services, in a sector that is vital for the efficient and cost effective delivery of all public services.”

The market study will also examine the extent to which public sector procurement practices interact with the market structure and suppliers’ behaviour.

Bill Cook, Head of Government Business, CapgeminiThe announcement has been picked up in a number of national and trade media. The FT’s story today, OFT to scrutinise government IT contracts [subscription required], reported that there was concern in Whitehall that it may be “losing out on the innovation that smaller companies can bring.” The article quotes Bill Cook, Capgemini’s Head of Government Business on the role that Capgemini plays in helping small and medium-sized companies contribute to large scale public sector contracts.

Bill explained further his reaction to the OFT’s announcement:
We welcome this study by the OFT. We agree that it is important not only to understand the dynamics of what is a very competitive market in the UK, but also how companies such as Capgemini are helping UK SMEs contribute their expertise on public sector contracts that would be hard for them to bid for particularly because of the scale, complexity and commercial risk that are part and parcel of many public sector IT programmes. Indeed our growing ‘eco-system’ of SMEs already has more than 300 small businesses actively engaged in our public sector work.

You can read more about the new study in other titles including Independent, Times (subscription required), Computer Weekly, V3, The Register.