Whitehall opens £4.5bn desktop procurement

OGCbs and DWP join hands

OGCbuying.solutions and the Department for Work and Pensions are joining forces to tender for two lots of ICT equipment and services.

The organisations want to set up two contracts, according to a notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 24 September 2008. Although the two deals will be worth £4.5bn together, the document does not indicate how this money will be divided.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says it is the first time it has worked with OGCbuying.solutions in this way. A spokesperson said that there are great similarities in core requirements for desktop services across departments.

"DWP needed to instigate a procurement to replace its existing desktop services contract which expires in 2010," held by EDS, the spokesperson said. "It seemed sensible to combine this with a cross-government framework procurement which will serve to reduce procurement costs and take advantage of DWP's procurement muscle."

The spokesperson added that the CIO Council has been looking for ways to improve value for money through collaboration between departments, and that the deal represents the re-affirmation of trend rather than a change in purchasing strategy.

The first lot will be for a single vendor to support the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and related organisations with desktop services over six years. The related organisations will be those involved with the DWP in providing social security, welfare benefits and social services, and include the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency and Northern Ireland's Social Security Agency.

Stephen Roberts, senior analyst at Kable, said: "Lot 1 isn't awarded exclusively, and there isn't a fixed figure on its value. There are only a few companies that can deliver desktop services at this scale and still make money from it. Whoever wins this contract may well have to compete against the lot 2 framework awardees for DWP business."

The second lot, also for the supply of desktop services, will be a four year framework agreement covering the wider public sector. The tender notice says this will include user access devices, together with associated management and support services, plus software and infrastructure services.

"There's a lot of overlap in lot 2 with Flex, the Cabinet Office's shared service deal," said Roberts. "It's telling to see the DWP, rather than the Cabinet Office, taking a lead in driving common desktop platforms."

He added: "The DWP stands to gain enormously from inter-departmental integration, and while the real wins will come from integration at the database and application layer, winning as much commonality as possible at the desktop end is a very good start."

OGCbuying.solutions and the DWP expect to invite between three and seven companies to tender for each of the two lots.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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