Public sector organisations have spent £1.2bn with small and medium-sized businesses on cloud and digital services in the past five years via the Government's Digital Marketplace.
Since 2012, public sector spend has continued to rise for services such as cloud storage and IT support - reaching a total of £2.6 billion spent with businesses of all sizes. New Government figures show that almost half of that spend, or £1.39 in every £3, went to small and medium-sized enterprises.
This spend, from public bodies including local authorities and the NHS as well as central Government departments, has been via the Government's Digital Marketplace - developed by the Government Digital Service (GDS) and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) in order to make Government procurement easier and more transparent. In 2016/17, it helped CCS to deliver £725 million in savings for tax-payers.
All public sector organisations can use the Digital Marketplace to source technology for digital projects - such as cloud hosting, software and support and to find digital specialists including developers and content designers.
The buying process depends on the specific agreement or "framework" between Government and supplier; buying services through these frameworks is "faster and cheaper" than entering into individual procurement contracts. This also makes it easier for SMEs to access digital projects in the public sector.
Warren Smith, director of the Digital Marketplace, said: "We are continually focused on breaking down the barriers to entry for SMEs to do business with Government, for example, by simplifying the application process. We are also breaking down the traditionally large contracts into smaller ones, which favour a more diverse range of suppliers and help Government to buy services more efficiently."
Caroline Nokes, minister for Government resilience and efficiency said: "Small businesses have an important role to play in helping Government to spend taxpayers' money wisely. That is why we continue to find ways of improving how the public sector, schools and hospitals, for example, puts money back into services for those they look after."