E-gov: ‘More work for local suppliers needed’

Jonathan Williams, the States director of business change

THE team responsible for the States e-gov project has been criticised for not giving work to local suppliers.

Earlier this month the Public Accounts Committee raised serious concerns about the progress being made with e-gov and made a number of recommendations as to how the project could and should be improved.

The committee said that there was ‘unnecessary tension in the working relationship between Digital Jersey and the e-gov team’ and recommended that they be encouraged to work closer together in order to have a ‘joined-up approach between the commercial IT industries and government’.

Digital Jersey chief executive Tony Moretta has now responded to that concern and said that his organisation wanted to work with the e-gov team. However, he said there were issues with the team’s current procurement policies, which he said did not always support or value local suppliers.

The e-gov team, meanwhile, has said it is planning on working more closely with Digital Jersey and, although it does already work with local firms, that this can always be improved. Mr Moretta said: ‘We would like to work with them [the e-gov team] to develop a new approach to procurement that enables local partnerships with the best from around the world to upskill and develop our local capabilities and deliver a stronger e-gov programme at the same time.’

He added: ‘Digital Jersey’s agenda is to grow local technology jobs, create a more digital society and market Jersey abroad as a digital centre.

‘We think e-gov could help with all of those objectives, and the reason I champion learning from Estonia is that their e-gov programme has done just that – despite it also being a small country it has supported local companies to build their e-gov systems and now export them around the world, technology is used extensively by citizens in health, transport, etc and Estonia is now famous around the world for its digital sector.’

Jonathan Williams, the States director of business change who is leading the e-gov team, said they aimed to undertake some additional work with Digital Jersey, including reviewing procurement to enable more effective planning, sharing procurement documents ahead of publication and presenting them to interested parties and helping local firms to develop so that they can take on support contracts in future.

He said: ‘We need to be clear about economic benefit to the Island, growth of local digital industry and how any changes in procurement process deliver this. On this point, whilst there is a long lead time, we need to accelerate activity.

‘It is also worth reflecting that we already undertake lots of work with the local industry with many firms represented in the larger e-gov team.’

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