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UK government stacks up to £1.8bn in vertical application framework

Specialist software providers in education, health, and policing can look forward to fireside chat

The UK government's procurement wing is looking to have a chat with specialist software suppliers before it readies to launch a competition for contracts which could be worth a total of £1.8bn.

Crown Commercial Service (CCS), a procurement unit within the Cabinet Office, has launched a prior information notice to get to know suppliers interested in providing software for vertical applications, such as those “developed to meet the needs of their particular industry”, according to the document.

The CCS aims to create a framework agreement where buyers from across the public sector — from local authorities, fire services, schools and hospitals, for example — can get their software under a single agreement.

The procurement is divided into five lots. The first is dedicated to business applications, which pertains to the “business side of their operations”. Lot 2 is aimed at Education, Community Health and Social Care Solutions and might include learning applications and academic scheduling for example. Housing, Environmental and Planning Solutions are the targets of lot three, which might mean building control, geographic information system (GIS) or waste management solutions, for example.

Museums, galleries and sports centres are among the intended beneficiaries of Lot 4, Citizen Services. Lot No 5 earns the cryptic moniker Bluelight Solutions which it turns out means systems likely to be used by the police or intelligence services such as those managing investigation, forensics, for example.

The expected date of publication of the contract notice, which will formally kick off the competition, is 20 June 2022.

The CCS has a separate framework for enterprise applications, which can cut across industry sectors (supporting finance, HR etc). The £2.85bn deal was awarded in 2019 and is expected to run until February 2023.

The CCS is in the midst of a number of large-scale IT procurements. It launched an “open future opportunity” for network services in October last year, which could result in deals worth up to £5bn.

It has also launched a prior information notice for up to £4bn in for consultants expected to help in “digital transformation” under its Digital Specialists and Programmes.

The CCS has also named winners on its Management Consultancy Framework Three (MCF3) in deals that could be worth up to £3.6bn in the face of what critics claim is over-reliance on consultancy services. ®

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