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Foreign Office planning £350m IT services framework

The contract will cover service management, integration, and desktop infrastructure services

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revealed details of an upcoming IT managed services framework deal that is valued at up to £350 million.

The six year contract is likely to attract attention considering the government's recent claims that it is moving away from large IT deals that tie it to a select few service integrators for many years.

The FCO is London based, but it also has approximately 270 offices worldwide and an estimated 18,000 IT users. An online tender also indicates that although the FCO is the contracting authority, the services may also be used by a wide variety of UK public sector bodies, including the UK Border Agency, the British Council and the Department for International Development.

The first lot in the tender covers service management and integration services (SMI), where the chosen partner will manage IT suppliers to the FCO on a day to day basis and provide the overall end to end management and integration of services.

This part of the contract could cost the government up to £80m for the six year period.

The second lot is for the provision of desktop infrastructure services, which will cover the support and maintenance of the FCO's existing Microsoft based legacy Firecrest desktop infrastructure and systems.

It may also require the chosen service provider to make a number of enhancements to the Firecrest system, its globally networked desktop system, and could cost up to £270m over six years.

Those interested in participating in the tender process have until the 6th April of this year to submit their requests.

Towards the end of last year it was revealed by the director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) that the FCO suffered a "significant" attack on its computer systems, where he pointed to increased attempts in e-crime to steal British ideas and designs.

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