The government put forward a set of consultation proposals for a  "consistent, single set of SME-friendly principles” for public sector procurement, as part of a continued effort to make it easier for the U.K. small businesses to compete for government contracts. Some of the proposals include standardising requirements for high-value contracts and doing away with pre-qualification questionnaires for low-value contract. "I want this to increase to reflect the growing number and importance of small businesses in the UK today. “I want this to increase to reflect the growing number and importance of small businesses in the UK today. For this to happen we need to improve small businesses’ access to the public procurement market by removing the bureaucratic processes and poor payment practices which stop and discourage SMEs from making winning bids for contracts," said Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Adviser.

Avoiding nightmare traffic might be about to get a little easier, thanks to a Highways Agency pilot program that would collect mobile device and satellite navigation data. The data will be scrubbed of any identifying characteristics and then passed on to data firms and phone companies to help identify traffic trouble zones. The agency is running two trials of the program, one passed on historical data and one based on live data from users on the M25 and its major feeder roads.

Emergency alerts could soon be delivered via mobile phones, as the Cabinet Office is trialling mobile alerts in Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Glasgow to gauge public reaction. The trials, which will target about 50,000 people, will test different language and technological solutions, to determine which approach is best suited to a national rollout. The system would be used to let the public know about emergencies such as floods.  

Whenever a public sector IT project runs into trouble, it makes headlines. But what are the leading causes of IT failure in the public sector? Experts say that poor communication, unrealistic forecasting and an unwillingness to face up to failures as they occur can create and then exacerbate flaws in a project until it runs aground. At the same time, having objectives and a business case that everyone can understand, along with good governance, a strong planning structure and clear deliverables make it easier to roll out a project on time, this article notes.

Discussions about innovation tend to hinge on coming up with lots of new ideas -- but the process of culling out the bad ideas so that the good notions can flourish is equally important, Freek Vermeulen writes. It's not enough to be capable of making choices of which ideas to pursue -- organisations need to be able to make these calls in a thoughtful manner. Sensible restrictions, a willingness to rely on evidence to make decisions and the ability to take in opinions from outside your organisation are essential making the post of the selection process, he writes.