UK's newly merged Foreign Office puts £40m on table for hardware, software, services

Deloitte already has the deal to guide organisational structure and strategy

The UK's Foreign Office has entered the market for IT hardware, software, and specialist services with up to £40m on the table.

Formally known as the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the department is tendering for tech suppliers under two lots. The first asks for software, including commercial off-the-shelf software, licences, and specialist software services, with the aim of supporting both internal business needs and underpinning the service "customers" – ie, recipients of foreign aid.

The second lot is requesting end-user devices, infrastructure hardware, consumables, and peripherals etc.

Suppliers are set to compete to be on a framework deal for an initial three-year period, with a possible one-year extension available, according to the contract notice.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office in June last year.

Since then, Deloitte has picked up the contract to be a guiding hand for the technology and organisational changes the new department might need. The global consultancy firm picked up a £3m contract in July to define the "operating model, organisation design and toolset strategy" in the "Future Service Management" programme.

As part of the brief, the FCDO said it "must have a single ITSM tooling strategy, that delivers maximum autonomy and responsiveness to the user, delivers coherent management information, and reduces overall cost of delivery."

Deloitte also needs to manage the "expiry of an existing outsourced service management & integration contract" which the department inherited from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

"The FCDO needs to define, document and implement the target operating model, organisation design and service model for IT Service Management while managing the integration of ex-DfID and ex-FCO service management capabilities. This work will transform, re-compete and transition from the existing... model to the future state," a procurement notice said.

The costs of merging the two departments are expected to be £4.9m, according to the 2020-21 accounts [PDF]. That includes £600k for specialist contractors and £800k for software licences to align the two organisations.

Meanwhile, Parliament has launched an inquiry into how the FCDO needs to adjust its strategy according to the changing technology landscape. The Foreign Affairs Committee said it would "explore how the FCDO can help build alliances with those who share our understanding of the need for standards shaping technological frontiers and how it can support the development of – and adherence to – rules and norms for the responsible use of new technologies." ®

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