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WCL bags UK government framework for 'everything ICT'

£800m contract focused on education sector will see subcontractors managed by consultant

Management consultancy WCL has won a tender with the UK government to supply "everything ICT" in a contract which could be worth up to £800 million (c $950 million) over its lifetime.

As the title suggests, the award is set to see a broad gamut of computer hardware and software provided to UK public sector organizations under the auspices of a framework agreement, in which suppliers commit certain volumes of products or services at pre-negotiated prices.

Organizations set to make use of the arrangement include schools, colleges, universities, government departments, non-departmental public bodies, NHS bodies, local authorities, devolved administrations, fire service, police service, and charities.

The framework was put together by E2BN, a not-for-profit buying consortium focused on schools, education, and local authorities.

According to a contract award notice, the framework is due to be in place for four years. As the successful bidder, WCL – a management consultancy whose clients include Tesco, Essex County Council, and Highways England – will be expected to demonstrate they can impartially control and manage technology suppliers.

The documents said it would be expected to "deliver against the full range of required areas… to maintain and integrate such competing sub-contractors, in every category, as necessary to ensure choice and flexibility in each category, best value and seamless interoperability."

The notice said: "At all times choice, service, quality and cost is paramount as too is energy saving and reducing the carbon footprint. Sustainability and continuity of supply is important, along with the need to ensure innovation of products and service as well as the necessity to manage both small enterprises and large corporations."

The award notice offers a long list of products and services which could be bought under the arrangement including software packages and information systems, network equipment, computer equipment, and IT services such as consulting, support, and software development.

At £800 million, the WCL deal might seem like a sizable chunk of public-sector ICT spending, but it is set to be dwarfed.

Earlier this year, Crown Commercial Services, the purchasing arm of the Cabinet Office, published a tender notice looking for tech vendors' feedback on a new framework agreement which could be worth up to £8 billion (c $9.5 billion). Formal competition on that deal is set to begin in November. ®

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