Key API management platform for UK public sector scrapped: DWP ends £5m MuleSoft project

Legacy app 'asset reuse' left hanging for now

Updated The UK's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has ended a MuleSoft-based integration project and is considering its options in terms of knitting together its many legacy applications.

Reports have detailed the central government departments' efforts to manage and share APIs on MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform.

Having committed £4,998,652 [PDF, page three] into just two years' worth of subscriptions to the "MuleSoft Anypoint Platform" between 28 January 2019 and 27 January 2021, the department is now set to end its relationship with the company, which was bought by Salesforce for $6.5bn in 2018.

In a statement to The Register, a DWP spokesman said: "The DWP has a large digital infrastructure with complex requirements.

"As our contract with MuleSoft comes to an end, we are looking at how we can get the best value for money while improving service delivery," he said.

The department – which is responsible for welfare, pensions, and child maintenance policy in the UK – would not answer questions over why it was abandoning the project, but an insider told The Register the price of the subscriptions was a major factor. Additional costs were accrued through IT department time and consultants' fees. The project is being deemed a failure, the insider said.

The DWP/MuleSoft project has attracted attention after The Register revealed that DWP former permanent secretary Robert Devereux was set to join SaaS CRM specialist Salesforce.

Devereux retired at 61 from his £185,000 salary job in 2017 with a pension pot reported to be £1.8m in 2010/11.

The DWP advisory committee letter later confirmed the appointment and detailed two deals with Salesforce, including a £42,350 agreement providing support for its Pensionwise service and the nearly-£5m MuleSoft Anypoint Platform subscription. Devereux was not involved in the procurement process of either, the letter said.

A MuleSoft whitepaper proclaiming the benefits of its API management platform for the UK public sector describes how the Anypoint Platform is available via the government's G-Cloud framework agreement.

"By leveraging APIs and microservices as a foundation of an IT strategy centred around shared services and asset reuse, UK government departments, agencies, and bodies can meet, and even exceed the private sector in the quality of service it provides to employees and UK citizens," it says.

MuleSoft has not responded to The Register's request for comment. ®

Updated at 14:21 on 25 September to add:

The department has been in touch to clarify that it sees the project as being a success for DWP and Mulesoft and that API remained "critical" to its transformation strategy. Stating that the project had run its full contractual lifecycle, the department would not be drawn as to what happens to all the integrations built on the platform after Jan 27, given that it is a subscription based platform, saying only: "As with any contract that comes to an end, DWP will review and contract as appropriate what we need going forward."

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