Recruitment firm wins £4m two-year GDS deal to provide government with ‘urgent’ digital support

LA International Computer Consultants wins contract to provide agile teams at short notice

Credit: Alachua County/CC BY 2.0

Public sector IT recruitment specialist LA International Computer Consultants has won a £4m two-year deal to provide government with digital personnel to support urgent requirements.

A contract notice was published in February by the Government Digital Service, which indicated that it was looking to appoint a “flexible supplier to respond to urgent requests received by GDS from departments”.

The notice outlined that the winning bidder would be tasked with providing departments and arm’s-length bodies with fully formed agile teams, or personnel to supplement existing internal teams. GDS added that it was also seeking the provision of “specialist services [such as] data science, GOV.UK content and domain knowledge”.

These skills and personnel would need to be available to be deployed to departments within two weeks.

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“UK government needs access at short notice to resources that can design, build, and deliver digital services,” GDS said. “Projects will be at various stages and suppliers will be briefed relative to specific statements of work.”

Owing to the uncertainty of how and when work will be required, there is no definitive value attached to the contract, although up to £4m could be spent, GDS said.

LA International, which is based in Stoke-on-Trent, has been in business for 38 years and describes itself as an “HMG-approved ICT recruitment organisation”. It claims to be the country’s largest specialist IT recruiter, and the biggest supplier of security-cleared tech workers. Its most recent annual accounts, for the year to 30 June 2019, show a net profit of £10.5m on turnover of £225m.

Newly published contracts finder data reveals that the firm was appointed to a 24-month deal that commenced on 27 April.

In a recent press release, the company indicated that it will be fulfilling the contract alongside “strategic delivery partner” Hippo Digital, a Leeds-based consultancy.

LA International’s client solutions director Tom Robinson said: “We are delighted that LA International has been selected by GDS for this strategic contract, supported by our delivery partner, Hippo Digital. The value of being able to deliver quality digital outcomes for GDS and wider government, particularly during the current Covid-19 pandemic, cannot be overstated.”

The use of contracts in which external firms are retained to provide as-yet-unspecified IT and digital support to government at short notice has become increasingly common in the last couple of years. 

The potential £4m value attached to the contract with the recruitment makes it by far largest such deal issued so far.

Last summer, GDS floated three £1m one-year contracts to support urgent Brexit-related requirements. Cognizant, PA Consulting, and Deloitte won those deals.

Since the award of the LA International contract, GDS has tendered another, identical opportunity, with an attached value of £1m. Bids for that contract closed in May, with a deal scheduled to come into effect imminently.

These contracts, often referred as ‘bench agreements’, can be unpopular with smaller suppliers who are typically unable to keep swathes of staff free for rapid deployment.


Sam Trendall

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