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Anyone for Palantir? names gaggle of vendors to fight for contracts in £1.2bn back office application framework

It's time to crack open the public sector pork barrel.... like it was ever closed

It's pork barrel cracking time again, like it was ever really closed - the UK government has waved in a 30-strong gang of vendors to compete for slices of a potential £1.2bn framework for back office software.

Cross-government procurement organisation, the Crown Commercial Service, said the deal will be used in central government and elsewhere in the public sector including local authorities, health, police, fire and rescue, education and devolved administrations.

A contract award notice said the agreement would offer a route for public sector organisations to “purchase software subscriptions and licence support for back office systems direct from the software vendor.”

No specific discounts were mentioned but taxpayers will hope that in pooling together a potential £1.2bn spend, CCS will generate some value for the 1 per cent fee it takes on all business transacted via its frameworks.

Categories covered in this one include ERP, HCM, financial accounting, procurement, reporting, CRM, workflow technologies, content services, service portal, integration software, support and maintenance for these services.

Application stalwarts SAP, Oracle and Workday have been handed places on the contract, as have services companies including Deloitte, Capita and Fujitsu (see box for a full list of winners).

However, there are notable absences. Unit4 has proved popular on the public sector ERP circuit, with its integration of technology from Agresso, but it is not included. While the tender asks for CRM software, global market leader Salesforce is similarly missing. Likewise, ServiceNow does not get a look-in for the workflow category.

Conversely, Palantir, known more for analytics and data management – and a magnet for controversy given its links to the US immigration service and the Trump administration – is strangely included on this framework for back office application software.

The Cabinet Office, which runs the Crown Commercial Service, has been contacted for comment.

It has also been asked to explain the variation in the value on offer, which has risen from £800m when the prior information notice was published last June to £1.2bn.

The contract award said framework started on 6 April 2021 and is set to end on 6 October 2023 with the option to extend for 18 months. ®

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