Which of the large IT suppliers to the UK government do civil servants rate highest?

Global Government Forum’s latest study explores UK civil servants’ awareness and perceptions of major IT suppliers.

During the summer Global Government Forum surveyed over 1,000 UK civil servants, establishing a significant benchmark for measuring and tracking behaviours and attitudes across UK central government.

Global Government Forum’s previous analysis focused on the most important factors in influencing UK government decisions to award new outsourcing contracts.

The analysis here looks at findings for UK civil servants’ awareness and perceptions of large IT suppliers working with the UK government.

The report covers areas such as:

  • Which tech companies are top of mind for UK civil servants
  • Awareness of large IT suppliers across the UK civil service, comparing results of the senior ranks to the wider civil service
  • Which IT companies UK civil servants would most like to work with
  • How aware are civil servants of the services offered by large IT companies

Which tech companies are ‘top of mind’ for UK civil servants?

To measure UK civil servants’ overall awareness of information and technology suppliers to the UK government Global Government Forum asked UK civil servants to name the first company that comes to mind when they think of information and technology services in government.

HP (mentioned in various forms, for example Hewlett Packard or HPES) are the most ‘top of mind’ supplier across UK civil servants (17% of civil servants think of them first), with Fujitsu in second place (13%), followed by IBM (6%). The chart below shows the top ten companies by frequency of mentions, as well as the percentage of civil servants that stated each.


When the results are filtered to show only those responses from Senior Civil Servants and Grades 6/7 however, HP move to third, with 11% of mentions, and Fujitsu rank first with 17% of this senior group; in second place are Capita with 12% of the senior group and IBM come fifth (10%), followed by Atos sixth (7%).

Awareness of large IT suppliers

In the following questions, civil servants were presented with a list of suppliers to rate across various factors. The organisations included are: Accenture; Apple; Atos; BT; CSC; Capgemini; Capita; Dell; Fujitsu; HP; Huawei; IBM; Lenovo; Lockheed Martin; Microsoft; and Sopra Steria.

Firstly, civil servants answered which of the companies listed they are aware of in a government work context. The results are displayed below by the total (1,078 responses); vs. Senior Civil Servants, Grades 6/7 (346 responses); vs. Others – those outside of the senior leadership group, predominantly working in front line delivery and support roles (732 responses).

Civil servants are most aware of Microsoft in a work context (76.8%), followed by Capita (67.2%) and then Fujitsu (63.5%). Comparing these results to the senior group in the previous free-text answers for ‘top of mind’ companies shows again that senior leaders in the civil service are more aware of companies such as Capita, Fujitsu, Atos, Capgemini, Accenture and IBM than their colleagues in support roles. However, awareness across all companies is higher within the senior group than across the total, with the exception of Microsoft, BT and HP.


Which tech companies would UK civil servants most like to work with?

Civil servants were also asked to select the top three companies, that they would most like to work with. Microsoft was most popular, with 59% of civil servants stating that they would like to work with them, however within the senior group, less than half would like to work with Microsoft in preference of the other organisations in the list.

Instead, more of the senior group selected Apple than any other company in the list.

Overall, Microsoft rank top (59%), with Apple second (53.2%), BT somewhat behind in third (less than a third of civil servants), followed by IBM (27.6%), and then HP (21.2%).


Results can be compared to answers from the question ‘Which of the following companies (that provide information technology services) are you aware of in a work context?’, (covered above). This allows contextual comparisons, showing, for example, where civil servants are largely aware of individual suppliers but these same suppliers do not feature as high in terms of the willingness of civil servants to work with them.

The results across these questions show that whereas civil servants are both highly aware and also willing to work with Microsoft, other companies that civil servants are quite aware of, such as Atos, Fujitsu and Capita, do not rank as highly as companies that civil servants would like to work with.

Inconsistencies between the two measures for these companies could therefore be indicative of awareness in a work context originating from more negative or neutral awareness than positive. They might also be reflective of differing marketing and brand messaging and approaches.

More can be understood about the value that civil servants attribute to various factors such as trust, delivery, past experience, brand reputation and media coverage when understanding how important certain factors are in selecting outsourcing suppliers (see part 1 of GGF’s analysis ‘What are the most important factors in influencing UK government decisions to award new outsourcing contracts?’)

How aware are UK civil servants of the services offered by large IT suppliers to government?

The survey also measured levels of awareness across UK civil servants of the several types of services provided by the companies in the list, as well as services for specific sectors such as health and defence.

From the list of companies provided, civil servants were most familiar with: Microsoft and IBM the providing cyber security services; Lockheed Martin as a provider of Defence services (37.8% of civil servants); Atos the leading provider in the health sector (44.3%) – followed by BT (21.4%); BT as the most well known for infrastructure services (17.1%); and Capita for both Business Process Outsourcing and Shared Services (17.8% and 25.2% respectively).

The following interactive charts can be sorted and filtered, allowing greater understanding of the findings by company or by awareness of services provided.




These results provide a valuable benchmark of how these suppliers are viewed within the UK civil service, and where awareness is strongest and weakest.

The raw data can be broken down to see further trends across areas such as: professional groups within the civil service; grades and seniority; departments and agencies; geographic regions; and for those civil servants working directly as part of the purchasing and procurement process within their organisation(s).

For organisations that wish to continue to win business with government, to win more business with government, or to enter the public sector marketplace for the first time, perception audits are an important part of understanding the market and where investment might be needed to raise ahead of their competitors.

The results are particularly important when considering other factors, such as media coverage of major projects and the suppliers working on them, together with significant new market entries, changes in procurement policies and priorities and also company re-branding initiatives, mergers and acquisitions.

The survey will run on an annual basis, and perceptions and awareness tracked over time to show trends and change over time.

Global Government Forum can run surveys of this nature in public services around the world. For more information, please contact Kevin Sorkin on [email protected] or telephone +44 7738 148 585 to discuss how we can help.

Key Facts

  • Number of completed survey responses: 1,078
  • Senior management: (Senior Civil Servants / Grades 6 and 7) 32.1%
  • Front line delivery staff: 67.9%
  • Responses from over 100 central government departments, executive agencies, non-ministerial departments and NDPBs
  • Fieldwork carried out in July and September 2016
  • 9 core questions
  • 9 standard demographic questions

The sample is substantial, and it enables valid conclusions to be drawn and comparisons to be made: statistically, differences of +/- 2.98% or more will be statistically significant at the 95% Confidence Level. As standard with all market research, significance within sub-groups will vary.



Global Government Forum offers an end-to-end research and dissemination service, using our unparalleled access to a global audience of civil service leaders to gather information on their views, interests and needs, then analysing the results and producing authoritative and insightful reports. These may be retained by the client for market intelligence, or distributed via our website, emails and social media channels.

Our clients have various business needs, and over the years our Research Director Chris Punch has led projects – amongst other things – to position clients as thought leaders; to gather officials’ views on particular policies or agendas; to assess officials’ views of suppliers; to support arguments for reform or change; and to demonstrate the value of suppliers’ work.

  • To achieve these goals, the team applies a wide range of techniques including:
  • Identifying target audiences and generating lists of contacts
  • Tracking down hard data on the structures, shape and nature of government bodies and workforces
  • Running surveys, which typically gather more than 1,000 responses
  • Conducting one-to-one research interviews with officials, using local languages
  • Analysing quantitative and qualitative data to draw out trends and conclusions
  • Producing reports and white papers explaining the results and findings
  • Gathering quotes and input from senior officials to help assess and publicise the research
  • Distributing the results to our audience via globalgovernmentforum.com
  • Gathering leads via a system of free white paper downloads
  • Holding launch events, seminars and round tables to examine and publicise research findings
  • Stimulating interest and discussion via social media

Published reports based on our research and accompanying Global Government Forum features have attracted significant public interest, along with media coverage in the Independent, The Guardian, The Courier, The Scotsman, The Herald, Civil Service World, www.politicshome.com, The HR Director, Public Finance, Public Finance International and other titles. Links to the reports have been tweeted by the current cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, and Clare Moriarty, permanent secretary of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

If you would like us to talk you through the full results, or if you would like to run your own survey with us, please contact us at [email protected] or speak to Kevin on +44 7738 148 585 to discuss how we can help.