BBC chief technology officer John Linwood has vowed to make it easier for small companies to supply systems and equipment to the corporation.

In an interview with Broadcast, Linwood revealed that the BBC’s stringent procurement process, which currently favours bigger companies, is to change. He said the BBC’s technology supply will be dealt with in
different segments, and place less emphasis on company scale.

He said: “We’re not going to use a small, two-person outfit to replace all the desktops in the BBC, but where there are niche or emerging technologies and a lot of creative work going on, we’re changing the procurement rules. We’re going to say it’s OK if a company hasn’t been around 50 years and doesn’t have a huge market capital.”

BBC procurement takes into account company size, length of service and previous public service track record to reduce the risk of non-supply. Linwood said the existing rules were designed so that the BBC would deal with “large companies that will deliver and you know won’t go bust. The problem with that is you get less innovation.”

Linwood also revealed that, where appropriate, the BBC is able to invest in small organisations in terms of finance, people or technology, or by providing them with development resources.

“We have to be careful though too because we can swamp these companies,” he warned. “If the BBC turns up with 50 people and massive demands, these poor little companies say yes to everything and then can’t deliver on it.”

Read more of Broadcast’s interview with John Linwood.