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By | John Oates 2nd December 2010 10:06

Gov to resellers: Glory bonanza secrecy days are over. For real

Train smash scatters gravy everywhere

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude continues to talk the talk - warning big resellers that the days of massive contracts with even bigger margins are over.

Maude said both suppliers and civil servants would need to change.

Maude said: "The days of the mega IT contracts are over. We will need you to rethink the way you approach projects, making them smaller, off-the-shelf and open source where possible. We will expect you to be transparent in all your dealings with us and for the terms of the contracts we sign with you to go up online."

Mega-contracts such as the NHS's National Programme for IT, at £12.7bn, and the abandoned offender management system, which spent £155m, all provide masterclasses in how not to run procurement projects.

But Maude also made clear the ways in which government buyers will have to change. He said: "You will have had to deal with contracts where the specification changed 10 times before you were through, where your employees were man-marked by civil servants and where the individuals you were working with constantly changed", according to the Telegraph.

Last week, Maude described government contracts as eye-watering and blamed a culture of secrecy for protecting civil servants who signed deals they did not understand.

Government procurement, especially in IT, has long been dogged by such problems. Civil servants, and suppliers, have been quick to use claims of commercial confidentiality to justify such secrecy - whether Maude can turn this culture on its head remains to be seen. Big suppliers have been able to insist on such secrecy as a pre-condition of bidding for contracts.®

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