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UK Department of Health's joint venture with Sopra Steria names 19 vendors to epic £1bn hardware framework

Free smartwatch? Don't mind if I do

NHS Shared Business Services has awarded seats on a mega framework for computer hardware to a long list of suppliers in a deal worth up to £1bn.

Working with North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC), the joint venture between the Department of Health and Sopra Steria has named 19 suppliers that can now pitch for IT hardware and services contracts which can be delivered for the NHS and the wider public sector.

Categories on the deal include consumer-oriented "digital workplace devices" such as desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, printers, and scanners. Named in a jolly bucket-load of peripherals also included in the deal were monitors, keyboards, mice, headsets, webcams, HDMI/VDI cables, and power cables.

The contract started on 1 March and is expected to end on 28 February 2023. Named winners include Insight Direct, Ricoh, Dell, and Softcat, according to the contract award notice.

An earlier contract notice from September said that the Link 3 framework, as it is known, is designed to provide "a transparent and very competitive buying vehicle for all core IT commodity hardware category areas."

Mobile devices listed on the tender include "tablet PCs, slate devices (wraparound, detachable, phablets) and mobile phones (including smartphones, smartwatches)."

The products listed also include more specialist technology including "medical workstations and built-in devices, infection control products, mobile clinical assistant devices, for use in point of care and mobile environments plus peripherals including healthcare-customised mobile, body-worn equipment (such as virtual reality or augmented reality headsets) for medical diagnosis."

NHS Shared Business Services and NOE CPC have been busy in recent months. In October 2020, the former awarded a £500m framework to an army of resellers and technology makers.

Hardware on the framework includes servers, storage, LAN, WAN and SAN networking equipment, switches, backup and recovery, and client devices. The software includes virtualization platforms, virtualization management, session brokers, desktop operating systems, and other third-party software including bespoke/niche software.

In 2019, it launched a list of pre-approved cloud services suppliers for public sector organisations.

In January, the NOE CPC awarded four-year contracts worth a total of £504m to 12 resellers without competition because "the necessary NHS expertise is not currently available to support the tender evaluation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

In December 2020, Deloitte, Atos, and Phoenix Software were among the 29 organisations it picked to provide a whopping £200m worth of IT consultancy services under a framework deal established by the NOE CPC. ®

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