Government spends over £13 billion annually with technology suppliers. These range from specialist providers through to large global providers of technology products and services. Commercial partners are an important source of expertise and bring valuable experience of working with complexity and scale. However, digital change requires specific ways of investing, funding and procuring digital services. In our 2021 report on the challenges in implementing digital change, we said it is important for government to be an intelligent buyer to avoid poor outcomes.

Government’s Roadmap for digital and data 2022-2025 recognises that processes which work for other programmes are not always well-suited for digital programmes. Its “Mission six: a system that unlocks digital transformation” aims to address this through the Central Digital and Data Office working with the finance, commercial and policy professions in government to address the systemic barriers to digital transformation presented by existing ways of working.


This study will examine government’s overall approach to its dealings with digital and technology suppliers. It will examine whether the centre of government is set up to ensure that commercial, contracting and procurement for digital programmes is undertaken as efficiently and effectively as possible to achieve value for money. This will include:

  • how responsibilities are set out in respect of digital and technology procurement, and whether the different roles at the centre of government are working together effectively
  • whether government adopts a strategic approach to how it works with digital and technology suppliers
  • government’s approach to ensuring that it has the necessary skills and capability, and understanding of the technology market, to maximise the value of its dealings with suppliers

The study will not look at individual contracts and relationships between government departments and technology suppliers.

NAO Team

Director: Yvonne Gallagher
Audit Manager: Simon Banner