Public sector cyber procurement quadruples in five years

Published on: 21 Jul 2020

Analysis of data published on the GOV.UK Contracts Finder site shows that, during the 2015/16 year, the number of tenders and contract-award notices featuring the term ‘cyber’, or a variation thereof, stood at 61. 

Seven of these were worth in excess of £1m – among them the first iteration of the Crown Commercial Service’s Cyber Security Services framework. The buying vehicle, which came with a value of £40m, was created to allow public sector organisations to buy specialist services in seven areas: policy and standards, risk assessment, risk management, security architecture, information assurance methodologies; incident management, and audit and review.

By the 2019/20 year, the number of cyber-related procurement exercises has reached 222 – almost four times as many as in FY16.

The volume and proportion of £1m-plua contracts also shot up to 48 – a sevenfold increase on 2015/16.

This included the third version of Cyber Security Services – which is now worth £151m – as well as a £250m framework for NHS entities to access incident response, consultancy, and security personnel from a total of 25 suppliers.

“The framework supports improved and enhanced cybersecurity across the public sector, addressing the threats, risks and vulnerabilities that may be encountered and ultimately enabling the safe and secure use of data to deliver improved public services,” NHS Digital said. “It will also offer an additional solution to support the existing portfolio of security solutions currently available.”

The growth in the volume and value cyber contracts awarded by public-sector bodies to external specialists has come alongside a growing awareness of cybersecurity issues and data-protection responsibilities – especially in light of the introduction of GDPR legislation in 2018.

In addition to a full breakdown of security procurement trends, elsewhere in the PublicTechnology research report – based on freedom of information requests and analysis of government data – we reveal how many data breaches are suffered across healthcare, education, central and local government. We also have exclusive insight into what happens after a breach has occurred and what measures are required by the Information Commissioner’s Office.