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A quarter of government ICT procurement to involve SMEs by 2015

Computing - The government's Open Standards Principles is one of a number of factors - including G-Cloud, that'll help it achieve a target of reaching a quarter of all ICT procurement contracts being provided to small and medium-sized enterprises  (SMEs), Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has said.

The Open Standard Principles are an agreed set of standards designed to make government IT more open, cheaper and better connected. Maude made the comments during a speech at The Cabinet Office's Procurement Briefing 2013, a conference about government technology procurement attended by Computing.

"These standards will improve competition for government contracts, allowing us to open up to a larger number of suppliers and encourage innovation," Maude told the audience of senior officials.

"It's not just about direct spend with SMEs which we want to increase, but this goes deep into that supply chain as well. We want to open up the supply chain and that's how we'll get to our ambition, our aspiration, that by value, 25 per cent of government business should be with SMEs by 2015."

Maude admitted that it's been tough implementing the changes to ICT procurement in the public sector, especially as it involves bringing organisations out of their traditional "comfort zones".