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UK govt adds £4B to value of delayed tech procurement

Hardware, software, kitchen sink: it's all in there

The UK government has launched the tendering process for an agreement set to be worth up to £12 billion ($14 billion) for the tech suppliers that make it onto the contract.

Official documents suggest the launch of the competition has been delayed by around four months, and £4 billion ($4.73 billion) added to the total possible value.

Set to kick off in September 2023, the framework agreement – under which suppliers negotiate prices against an indicative volume of work – is being procured by Crown Commercial Services, the commercial wing of the Cabinet Office. In eight lots, it includes hardware, software, information assured technology (best practice etc), health and social care technology, education technology, sustainability and circular IT, and technology catalog.

The contract is set to last until March 2026, but the closing date for bids is April 4, giving teams within vendors and resellers scant time to prepare. They might also be frustrated as the procurement appears to have been delayed.

The prior information notice for the contract, in which the government talks to suppliers before official competition starts, was launched in April 2022, and put the maximum value at £8 billion. It promised that the contract notice, which kicks off competition, would be published at the beginning of November.

"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 Prior Information Notice reads.

Framework agreements are open to buyers from across the public sector and are intended to save time and money in the procurement process and get better value for money on prices. Buyers might include central government departments, the NHS, local governments, the fire services, and a long list of third sector partners.

The competition is for a framework deal dubbed RM6098 and is set to replace three existing framework agreements: Technology Products and Associated Services, due to expire in December 2023, Technology Online Purchasing Content, due to expire in November 2023, and Education Technology, which is due to expire in June 2023. ®

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