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UK government preps tech suppliers for £8bn mega framework

Software? Ticked. Hardware? Ticked. Kitchen sink? Oh go on then, why not

The British government is looking to speak with suppliers in preparation for a multi-year procurement that could be worth up to £8 billion in technology products and services.

Crown Commercial Services, the purchasing arm of the Cabinet Office which reaches across central government departments, has published a tender notice looking for tech vendors' feedback on a new framework agreement.

Set to cover everything from IT software, hardware, services and even magnetic cards, the CCS is looking to put together a new procurement mechanism with set T&Cs and pricing available to the whole public sector – including central government departments, the NHS, local government, emergency services and more.

"It is intended that this commercial agreement will be the recommended vehicle for all commodity technology products and associated services required by the UK central government and wider public sector organisations … Example scope includes, but is not limited to: laptops, desktops, mobile phones, printers, scanners, servers, storage, infrastructure, networking, IoT devices, AR/VR devices … and off the shelf software and associated services," the notice reads.

A contract notice, after which formal competition begins, is expected on 2 November 2022.

The exact form of procurement will "be developed with stakeholders and market engagement prior to the publication of any subsequent award notice."

The new framework – Technology Products and Associated Services 2 – has its own website and is set to replace Technology Products & Associated Services, which was extended until December 2023 in 2020. As with all framework agreements, there is no guarranteed minimum spend.

The CCS has been busy in recent months. In January, it 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" in a deal set to be worth up to £1.8 billion.

In March, the central government procurement body launched a set of deals for cloud services and software which could be worth up to £5 billion. Under the auspices of G-Cloud 13, the CCS published two procurement notices which describe a framework agreement for G-Cloud services – an arrangement within which providers can offer services under a fixed set of prices and pre-conditions.

As The Register has pointed out on numerous occasions, there are already a bewildering array of framework agreements in place across the UK. Buyers and sellers are forced to spend too much time navigating them.

CCS makes a 1 percent fee on the business transacted via the frameworks it organises, and it intends to "reach £30 billion of spend from a baseline of £13 billion in 2017." ®

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