IT companies serving the local government market place have set up the Alliance of eGov Suppliers. Traditionally there has been no industry wide relationship with the local government sector as is the case in central government. The Office for Government Commerce has a Supplier Relations Team which fosters better working relationships and understanding between suppliers and central government. It includes specialists who are responsible for developing closer corporate relationships.The need for an industry-local government relationship first became apparent when the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister co-ordinated the development of the pathfinder projects. This was the first appearance of local government wide programmes. The need for a relationship framework became more acute when the National Projects, such as customer relationship management, were launched by the ODPM in 2003. The supplier community was keen to participate but unsure of how they could offer their products and enjoy the benefits.
The role of the Alliance is to provide a helping hand to small and medium size companies and new suppliers that find the local authority market place difficult to penetrate. There will be a showcase event in Leeds on 19th May where local authority representatives will be able to meet on a one-to-one basis with pre-registered supplier appointments on topics such as customer relationship management, workflow and web-based products and services. The first eGov Special Interest Group will be set up at this event. Workshops are also planned for the relatively new suppliers to explain the characteristics of the local government market place.