Public Services > Central Government

Defra set to launch end user procurement under UnITy programme

David Bicknell Published 10 April 2017

Potential £131m contract competition will get underway with market engagement day next month; tender notice set for early June


The Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is planning to launch a procurement competition for the largest End User Environment delivery contract in central government, worth up to £131m.

An OJEU tender notice is set to come out around June 6, following a market engagement day that will be held in May.

The potential contract is the latest workstream under the £1.67bn UnITy programme and heralds an opportunity to provide an end user (desktop) environment for over 21,000 users across six organisations: Defra, the Environment Agency, the Rural Payments Agency, Natural England, the Marine Maritime Organisation, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

A prior information notice (PIN) indicates that the UnITy programme has been commissioned to transition the in-scope ICT provision to a new, single and more effective Defra ICT organisation with core/common services and a supporting delivery model that will replace the current service provisions. The programme is intended to deliver a new Defra Group ICT operating model primarily through new work-streams, each looking at delivering distinct services.

Existing IT outsourcing relationships with IBM and Capgemini under UnITy expire in January and August 2018 respectively, so there is not too much time remaining for Defra to procure new suppliers, agree the transition and then begin a relationship with new suppliers. Connectivity and hosting applications workstreams are currently being evaluated.

For the end user competition, Defra says it is seeking indication of which suppliers are interested with email responses required to secure attendance at the market engagement day in May.

The list of services in scope of the procurement is extensive, covering user and equipment provisioning and management as well as communication, security and desktop application infrastructure.  An aim is to deliver a target operating model that supports flexible working practices and easier collaboration across organisational boundaries within the Defra family, with an explicit focus on cloud-based delivery.

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