Responsible procurement – rethinking how the public sector buys tech

Good digital procurement – the processes through which central government and the public sector buys goods and services – can radically open up access to vital services, stimulate innovation in the public interest, build much-needed digital capabilities within government and create new standards for the wider tech sector to aspire to. 

When done badly, it risks wasting limited government funds, leaking public data into the hands of tech companies, exacerbating digital exclusion and irreparably damaging trust in the public sector. 

So with funding from the Legal Education Foundation, we looked into how we can transform the processes, tools and culture of digital procurement within public institutions and come up with new ways to hold them to account for their use.

We spoke with big tech companies, SMEs, civil servants, local government bodies, rights groups and other organisations from across the UK’s digital procurement ecosystem to understand the current challenges and opportunities they face.

We’ve turned these insights into recommendations for making responsible digital procurement in the UK Government a reality.