The government are aiming to save the tax payer money with a new centralised ICT framework.
Companies have been given until the 19th March 2012 to put in a bid for the business. The government's Commoditised IT hardware and Software (CITHS) framework is due to run out in 2013, so the government has given the go ahead for new hardware framework that is due to last 2 years, 4 at its maximum.
The framework is designed to save the taxpayer money by increasing the government’s purchasing power on a number of technology goods such as PC's, Laptops, Tablet, Servers etc. This new framework will be open to more departments this time round in a hope of saving more money. The framework will be used by the BBC, Royal Mail, the Met Office, the NHS and other public sector departments.
Michael Keegan, managing director of Fujitsu's technology solutions division, welcomed the fact that the framework covers a broader range of technology and government bodies than predecessors did. "This is part of a very sensible consolidation by the government of procurement of hardware and solutions, and will lead to better value for the taxpayer,"
The new framework raises questions over what will happen to the CITHS which isn't due to run out until August 2013. Darren Hedley, public sector director at VAR Kelway, suggested the 2 frameworks could work alongside each other, given their different aims.
He said, “I don't think we will necessarily see a wholesale move from one to another [CITHS to the new hardware & solutions framework]. You can buy anything on CITHS, whereas this is far more specific and everything is fairly tightly specified. If a big department wants to roll out standardised PCs, I think they will gravitate towards this. If it's more generalist, they may use CITHS."
The new framework has an estimated value of £4bn over its two-year lifespan, although it could run for a maximum of four years. This compares with the £6bn valuation placed on CITHS when it was launched 2 years ago.
As with everything the government proposes, questions have been raised over the volumes will live up to government expectations. As with CITHS, the volumes were nowhere near government’s desires.
Michael Keegan of Fujitsu, and Jamie Burke, public solutions director at Softcat revealed they will be bidding on the framework with the hope of winning the government's £4billion proposal.