Public Technology.net has run a very good interview with public buying organisation (PBO) ESPO about the important role that organisations like this play in the government IT landscape. It explains how these organisations come about and how exactly they operate. How they are run like a business but benefit predominantly local authorities by helping them with procurement solutions. How they cover their costs and then create a surplus, which goes back to the owners, and then back into frontline services.
It explains how the organisation (and through collaboration with similar organisations) aggregate all their demand and go out to the market together to get a solution which reaps the best terms. The article looks at why this kind of business model works, ways in which the public sector benefits, the types of product it works best with, how it involves more SMEs, and how the frameworks are formed, and by whom. It’s an interesting interview that succinctly answers lots of questions about the operations today and how it is expected to evolve.
One particular question we liked was: “I’m surprised that something as seemingly high-end as consultancy is a good fit for the PBO model …” To which the reply was “It absolutely is – that framework covers ICT consulting services and solutions, and back-office solutions. For a primary school that might not otherwise know where to go, it is a great thing that they can go to our framework and pick a consultant that has the technical requirements and resources they need, and knowledge of the sort of back-office solutions they need. That is where we can help.”
You can read the full interview here.