The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has begun to sound out the market for an IT services framework that would be one of the biggest deals in government and effectively duplicate arrangements elsewhere in Whitehall.
It has published a pre-tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union asking for supplier feedback on the possibilities in a range of technology areas, taking in hardware, software, communications equipment, networks and installation services.
The notice says the MoJ is expected to run a number of procurements for the relevant services, beginning on different dates, and will as part of the transition to its Future ICT Sourcing (Fits) model. It breaks the procurement down into lots, but warns that the structure could change in response to feedback from suppliers.
It says the first procurement is likely to be for systems integration and management. Others will be for security services, end user devices, networks, mobile telephony and pagers, hosting, application development and support, and portfolio and programme management.
As part of the process, the MoJ is planning to run an event specifically for SMEs to consider how they might be able to win a share of the business.
Although the value of the contract will depend on the final shape of the procurement, the department has estimated it at £927m over its five-year term.
The notice has prompted comment that the procurement will hinder the Efficiency and Reform Group's (ERG) efforts to develop a more centralised approach to IT procurement in central government.
Chris Pennell, senior analyst with IT intelligence specialist Kable, said: "The size and complexity of the potential tender runs counter to the ERG's objectives, and perhaps indicates that the larger departments still have the power to follow their own paths."
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
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