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Watch as UK government magically makes value of £500m framework contract swell to four times the size

And for my next trick... behold! Digital transformation!

The UK government has launched a tender for a £2bn IT services framework contract after the expected value rose to four times the initial estimated price.

In a tender notice published this week, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, acting through the Crown Commercial Service, asked for vendor bids to join a framework worth £2bn, split between lots covering technology strategy and services design, transition and transformation, operational services, major services, transformation programmes, service integration, and management.

A prior information notice published in April this year was designed to offer an early market engagement and price any potential deals up to £500m, a quarter of the eventual price. Clearly, early market engagement offered a least one outcome: convincing the government to spend more money.

There is no guarantee that £2bn will be handed to suppliers during the four-year deal; it is just a strong indication of what could be spent.

The tender is split into five lots – one of which, lot 3, is split into four components.

Taking a deep dive into the near bottomless pit of the IT services listed, technology strategy and services design includes such things as capability analysis, enterprise architecture, and technology gap assessments.

The largest lot, operational services, includes end-user services, operational management, technical management, and application and data management. With all its various components, it could be worth a total of £1.2bn.

Public bodies able to use the contract are set to include central government departments and their arm's-length agencies, non-departmental public bodies, NHS organisations, and local authorities.

In 2020, the UK public sector has seen a spree of big frameworks coming onto the market, including a £400m competition for software including ERP, human capital management (HCM), procurement and supply chain, information management and reporting, also from the Cabinet Office.

Meanwhile, the NHS Shared Business Services got in on the act too just this month, awarding a £500m everything-and-the-kitchen-sink framework to a long list of resellers. ®

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