Digital Marketplace helping to digitise the justice system by 2020
Just in time for our Breakfast Briefing with Tom Read CDIO at the MoJ we did some digging to find out what digital they have been buying & how suppliers can sell to them!
Ahead of our client exclusive Breakfast Briefing in July – at which we will welcome Tom Read, Chief Digital and Information Offer at the Ministry of Justice – we felt compelled to do a bit of research into the department.
In December 2012, the MoJ published its Digital Strategy, which “sets out how the Ministry of Justice will digitally transform in order to provide services that are more effective, less costly and more responsive for our users.” One ambitious vision included in this strategy was the goal of “digitising every aspect of the justice system possible by 2020” a tall order, to say the least.
The Ministry of Justice is a Central Government Department supported by 33 agencies and public bodies, such as the HM Courts & Tribunals Service; Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and various Boards, Commissions and Committees. The MoJ is incredibly user-facing, and users of the criminal justice, civil and family systems are often in complicated or stressful situations. This means that the services provided need to be easy to use, access and navigate for a diverse range of people.
One shining example is the HMPPS’ “Send money to someone in prison” digital service – which won second place for best digital product in the Civil Service Awards 2017 – allowing friends and families to send money to prisoners online by bank transfer or debit card, which could only be done previously by posting cash, a cheque or a postal order.
MoJ on G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists
The MoJ Digital and Technology blog gives good insight into some of the current projects that are transforming services. While some bespoke solutions are built in-house by the digital teams at the MoJ, there is often the need to procure a solution from a supplier, whether this is bespoke (via the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework) or off-the-shelf (via G-Cloud, and others). Spending on technology and software at the MoJ through the Digital Marketplace is one of the highest of all government departments – if you’re a supplier looking to sell into the justice system, you can rest assured that there is a need and desire for forward-thinking, effective digital solutions.
Since G-Cloud’s inception in 2012, the MoJ have spent a total of £245.29m through the framework.
They are mostly buying Cloud Support, at £203.74m spend; this could be consultancy, strategy development and delivery, project management, or technology implementation services to name a few possibilities. Further, £25.5 has been spent on Cloud Hosting (platform or infrastructure services) and £16.05m on Software (applications).
And, how are Advice Cloud’s clients doing? Well, on G-Cloud our clients have sold over £18m worth of services to the MoJ, and a further £674k to the agencies and bodies that support it. Through DOS, the figure is at £1.4m!
MoJ and the SME agenda
Procurement at the MoJ follows some guidelines that work to increase transparency and fairness for suppliers, for example as a standard all opportunities over £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder; but the organisation also sometimes split large contracts into smaller ‘lots’ to allow SMEs to bid for part of the work.
The good news for small and medium sized suppliers is that the MoJ has been consistently committed to engaging with SMEs – in 2012/13, 35% of MoJ’s total spend went to SMEs, back when the government target was 25%.
This affinity with small suppliers has only continued with £133.56m of the MoJ’s total spend on G-Cloud (or 54%) going to SMEs. This is much higher than the Central Government’s target of 33%. The same goes for the DOS framework, where £9.26m or 42% of the MoJ’s £22.13 spend has been with SMEs, across 42 published opportunities.
With such ambitious goals for the organisation’s digital transformation (full digitisation by 2020), the MoJ have been hard at work building and procuring tech and applications that, ultimately, improve the end-user experience. They are clearly committed to working with SMEs and open to exploring emerging tech such as blockchain. As with any public sector organisation (and private sector too!), a principal challenge is finding a good balance and cohesion between people, processes and tools; to transform an organisation is to enable and support all three areas of the organisation.
With G-Cloud 10 just around the corner, Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 not far behind and Data and Application Solutions coming to market, there will be new and exciting suppliers on the block who can meet these needs. Being aware of the challenges inside government departments, and learning how they procure and build services, is so important if you’re going to appeal to the ever-busy teams within them.
We look forward to welcoming Tom Read to our Breakfast Briefing on 11th July to speak with our clients about some of these topics and to give valuable insight into the MoJ. If you are one of our Standard Plus clients, we look forward to seeing you there! If but would like to be, get in touch with the team to upgrade from Standard or to come on board with Advice Cloud.