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Five consultancies with severe branding difficulties win spots on UK government's £580m 'transformation' services framework

Outsourcing the decision to outsource?

The UK government has awarded £580m of a £2bn framework contract to five suppliers, partly in the hope they can assist in telling public sector buyers how and where taxpayers' cash should be spent on tech services.

The list of customers wants includes tech service discovery, tech service disaggregation, along with transition and transformation of existing tech services, among other services.

The commercial wing of the Cabinet Office has divvied up the "Major Services Transformation Programmes" chunk of an earlier tender for IT services which can be consumed across government, the wider public sector, and some non-governmental organisations.

In October 2020, the Crown Commercial Service launched a tender for a £2bn IT services framework contract split between lots covering technology strategy and services design, transition and transformation, operational services, major services, transformation programmes, service integration, and management.

Other winners may be less familiar. They are 2020 Delivery, whose moniker aged so badly they changed it to Public Service Consultants during the procurement process....

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

"Technology Services 3" first emerged in February last year, when a prior information notice valued the work at £500m.

After an apparent shift in scope, five firms have been awarded places on the contract, including outsourcing and consultancy giant Accenture, which could potentially access the chunk's full value of £580m, according to the contract award notice.

Other winners may be less familiar. They are 2020 Delivery, whose moniker aged so badly they changed it to Public Service Consultants during the procurement process; 6Point6, which pulled the tagline "transformation secured" out of the buzzword tombola; Abtec Computer Solutions, clearly still in the hunt for problems; and 365itms, which has changed its name to Koris365 in its quest for brand immortality.

The framework kicked off in June and is set to be available to purchasers until 2025. Among the services lucky public-sector organisations are promised under the wings of the framework are "strategy", broken down into capability analysis and an "assessment and recommendation of the right technology to plug the capability gap between the as-is and the to-be" among other services.

The winning service providers will also help in creating "business models" which include "identification of the correct commercial and operational models to deliver the technology strategy (insourced, outsourced or multi-sourced models)."

Any readers performing a neck-snapping double-take over this meta-decision-making might be right. It is outsourcing the decision of whether to outsource.

Other services available include advice on technology architectures and something called "road-mapping"; a term which had no business in any human lexicon. We could go on. There is much more in this litany of business tech clichés. But perhaps life, after all, is too short. ®

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