Government procurement body inks £4.5bn desktop deal

The government’s procurement division, Buying Solutions, has awarded a £4.5 billion framework deal for the provision of IT services to Atos Origin, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard.

Under the four-year contract, the three providers will supply several Whitehall departments with desktop services including software, data security, accessibility, email and intranet, as well as infrastructure including PCs, laptops, and other user devices.

Fujitsu initially signed a £200 million, six-year agreement with the Department of Work of Pensions in February for the company to provide 140,000 thin client desktop devices to about 1,000 department locations across the UK.

“This is the first in a series of competitions to replace our existing IT and telephony services contracts by 2015 and it sets the tone by delivering significant benefits for the department and as a framework for government-wide IT," said Joe Harley, IT director general at the DWP, at the time. "This provides a number of benefits, including little or no maintenance required to the kit and reductions in power consumption, which supports our sustainability agenda.”

Elsewhere in the public sector, IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services has signed a ten-year deal with the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority to supply IT systems for its National Employment Savings Trust low-cost pensions scheme. The value of the contract, which is thought to be the largest ever with an Indian IT company, could be up to £600 million, but is dependent on how many people stay in the scheme, which is due to launch in 2012.

Earlier this week, the Conservatives accused the government of attempting to rush through public sector IT deals with providers – specifically those for its £12.7 billion NHS IT programme – before the general election, which will be held in June at the latest. The IT refresh is intended to give hospitals and GP surgeries access to digital records of patients’ medical histories, and was originally due to be completed in 2006 – current estimates state that it may not be finished until 2015. The Conservatives want to heavily scale back work on the project, while the Liberal Democrats would scrap it altogether.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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