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CTS details new standardised approach to exit legacy ICT contracts

Neil Merrett Published 15 February 2017

Organisation working with Whitehall infrastructure and projects watchdog to better overcome contractual barriers around taking more common approach to technology adoption


Common Technology Services (CTS) head Iain Patterson says the organisation is helping lead a new approach involving the Cabinet Office's Complex Transaction Team (CTT) and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) to tackle contractual barriers in moving away from large legacy agreements.

In a blog post focused around exiting IT deals and replacing them with a more common Whitehall approach that can be built or purchased once to be used multiple times by departments, Patterson outlined aims to better address problems identified in the existing central government contract landscape.

“Many still have large, legacy contracts using system integrators which affect their ability to change their technology estate. They’re faced with costly change control requests and complicated workarounds to link up cloud-based commodity solutions with their existing technology,” he said.

In working with watchdog bodies including the IPA, Patterson argues that CTS can provide a single voice and guidance to identify exit programmes for major IT project contracts, providing early support, while reducing risk through switching to a more common Whitehall technology approach.

“We don’t just provide support for major exit programmes. We’re building up a knowledge base of documents and tools which will be useful to programmes of any size,” he added. “With this constantly evolving knowledge base we can provide smaller programmes with the advice and capability they need to help themselves.”

One of the first projects it has taken this approach with has been the HS2 rail programme, where it has looked at trying to provide further value for money beyond an existing cloud migration focus by bringing the supporting IT estate in house.

“This started with a series of collaborative workshops where we identified a number of areas where CTS could provide support to help accelerate the programme delivery,” Patterson has said.

Under this work, CTS has worked in partnership with other organisations such as the IPA to focus on issues such as defining collaboration requirements for suppliers working together in a revised disaggregated contract, as well as setting out obligations that future contractors are accountable to deliver against.

In order to support procurement under this strategy, the Cabinet Office capability was provided by request to further supplement the HS2 Team’s expertise, which was seen as being a cost effective means of providing additional resources.

 “By engaging closely with the Cabinet Office Spend Control team during various stages of the programme, the team has helped make sure that conditional approvals were achievable and in-line with the Technology Code of Practice, central to Department for Transport and HS2 strategies,” added Patterson.

Based on work with HS2, he added that lessons would be taken forward to develop and refine the support programme for departments facing large outgoing contracts.

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