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UK's Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency signs £15m in cloud contracts

AWS and Azure cruise into government agency

The UK's Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has inked cloud deals valued at around £15m with Microsoft and AWS.

According to a tender notice, the Department for Transport agency responsible for testing individuals and vehicles, handed a contract to reseller Boxxe for a Microsoft Enterprise Licensing Agreement plus the provision of Microsoft Azure Cloud Hosting said to be worth around £8m.

That comes on top of another contract signed with AWS. The agency inked an agreement worth £8.4m for services including Apache Kafka, AWS Chatbot, Amazon Keyspaces (for Apache Cassandra) as well as disaster recovery and professional services.

"DVSA utilises Amazon Web Services platform to build and host the majority of its Web Hosting platform services and requires the provision to continue with developing, building, maintaining current and future services in addition to fulfilling its Digital transformation obligations," the tender notice said.

The agency has been trying to steer more towards a more digital destination, so it seems. According to its annual accounts, it invested £28.1m in IT software in 2020/21, including "enhancements to vehicle services, driving testing services, enforcement and MOT services, as well as necessary enhancements to our IT systems in readiness for EU Transition."

It even won the "Paperless Award" in the Processes category at Smarter Working Live for the internally developed driver examiner services (DES) app.

In an interview, head of digital operations Alex Fiddes said last year that the agency had outsourced theory tests and put iPads in the hands of examiners. It also introduced agile development with the help of BJSS.

But the roadmap has not been without the odd pothole. In 2019, IT staffed staged a strike over poor working conditions. According to reports at the time, the action was due to hit the maintenance of IT systems at the DVSA, including those used to book and allocate tests. The strike was judged "unnecessary" by the agency, while the public service union PCS called it "courageous." ®

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