Cabinet Office to launch data hosting company

Local authorities will be able to host applications not suitable for cloud hosting via a new company being created by central government to provide data hosting services.

The Cabinet Office today issued a tender notice seeking a private sector partner to take a majority stake in the new company, which will be named DatacentreCo.

Purchases over the four years of a framework agreement could be worth between £50m and £700m, according to the document.

The tender says: “Under HM Government’s Cloud First policy, the hosting of many existing and new applications will move to the public cloud over the next few years.

“DatacentreCo will support and compliment this policy by providing ‘legacy’ (non -public cloud) hosting for applications not suitable or not ready for cloud hosting or for which conversion to cloud readiness would be uneconomic.”

The contract notice relates to the provision of data centre space and related services including energy, cooling, connectivity and physical security.

Any successful provider will be required to provide the infrastructure from at least two separate locations.

The Cabinet Office and Government Digital Service want a private sector facilities partner to subscribe for a majority shareholding of up to 75% less one share in the new company. The government would own the remaining shareholding.

The operating environment will be required to handle information marked with the UK government “official” security classification, but may need to handle secret and top secret information in future.

The first customers to make use of the data centre framework agreement, which will be awarded to the new company, are expected to be the Department of Work and Pensions, the Home Office and the Highways Agency.

According to the Cabinet Office, the intention is then to open up the services to other public sector bodies including local authorities.

The closing date for responses to the tender is 15 August.

Colin Marrs

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