DWP asks suppliers for subcontractor lists

The government department is in discussions with major suppliers, including large IT companies, to list subcontractors as part of an effort to give more contracts to small businesses

The Department for Work and Pensions has asked systems integrators to list subcontractors as part of government efforts to work with more SMEs.

The department is in discussions with IT suppliers about subcontractor numbers, a DWP spokeswoman said on Friday. "The DWP is speaking to systems integrators about [subcontractors] and discussions are ongoing," said the spokeswoman. "The department is strongly committed to broadening the use of SMEs in the delivery of its IT."

Major IT suppliers to the DWP include HP, CSC, Atos Origin and BT.

The discussions are part of a government initiative to give more public money to smaller private companies. In 2010, business minister Vince Cable pledged that a quarter of IT contracts would go to small businesses.

Since then, government efforts to engage more small businesses have had mixed results.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet Office urged systems integrators to pay subcontractors promptly.

"Prompt payment is crucial to smaller companies," said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude in a statement. "The government has an excellent record on paying our bills quickly and we expect our suppliers to do the same and pay sub-contractors well within the 30-day limit."

Government departments will monitor prime contractors as part of contract management processes, said the Cabinet Office.

In June, the Cabinet Office cancelled some of its freelance IT contracts supplied through SMEs, and gave the business to Capita, according to technology publication Computer Weekly.

Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.