As part of its efforts to overhaul its massive £1.4 billion IT contract with IBM, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has awarded its Hosting and Application Support Services contract worth up to £135 million over six years to . . . you guessed it, another giant supplier, Atos.
Defra is in the middle of procuring for its UnITy transformation programme, which aims to reconfigure ICT delivery from provision by two large Systems Integrators (SIs), IBM and Capgemini, to a wider supply chain.
But in April, Defra courted criticism when it agreed to a £30 million, 17-month contract extension with IBM, citing the need to cope with the substantial application development and maintenance service pressures of Brexit. At the time, Defra strongly defended its procurement process, saying that it followed Cabinet Office rules and it welcomed tenders from a diverse range of suppliers, including SMEs.
“It’s disappointing to see that Defra, as well as some other government departments, are still struggling to break their addiction to large suppliers.”