The National Computing Centre is to accredit suppliers of ICT services, in an attempt to increase buying confidence among business customers.
Its scheme, Accredit UK, will recognise suppliers that have the right skills, business processes and performance in their particular discipline. Accredit UK will start with suppliers based in the West Midlands who specialise in network design and installation, and it will later be expanded to take in wider ICT products and services from suppliers across the UK.
Accredit UK is targeted at smaller suppliers, because these firms are less known to customers.
Project director Vaughan Shayler said, "When choosing an IT supplier, it seems there is no way of distinguishing IT expert from IT cowboy. [Now] SME IT suppliers will finally be able to compete on a level playing field and we will be able to identify the best companies in each segment."
But the onus will not entirely be on the supplier: Accredit UK will also produce guidelines for purchasers of IT, detailing best practice in specifying and dealing with suppliers. The pilot phase will be launched early next year and will run until 2009. Accredit UK is being funded jointly by the National Computing Centre and the European Regional Development Fund.
The National Computing Centre is a membership organisation for corporate IT users.