DWP signs £27m Crown Hosting contract extension due to ‘security requirements’

Department claims that dedicated datacentre space remains essential

Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

The Department for Work and Pensions has signed a £25m-plus contract extension with Crown Hosting Data Centres.

The DWP claimed that, while it has an overall “strategy to increase its footprint in the cloud”, it still has a need to keep some programs in the dedicated datacentre facility provided to the department by Crown Hosting.

“Following the purchase of four datacentre rooms in 2015… the rental is due for renewal,” the contract notice said. “Some applications will remain in the DC due to security requirements whilst others will become obsolete during their tenure. This facility therefore remains a key strategic requirement for the foreseeable future.”

The extension of the hosting deal commenced on 1 June and lasts for five years. It is valued at £26.6m.

The DWP indicated that, as work goes on to move more systems to a cloud environment, the contract allows for a reduction in capacity.

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“Current asset refresh and continued migrations however will see efficiencies in delivery and optimisation over the coming years, so there remains an opportunity to reduce the DWP facilities footprint; this is factored into this agreement,” it said.

Crown Hosting was established in 2015 as joint venture between hosting firm Ark Data Centres – the majority shareholder, with three quarters of shares – and the Cabinet Office. Its initial four-year agreement with the Crown Commercial Service was, in 2019, extended for a further 48 months, in a deal worth an estimated £500m.

“Due to the level of critical national infrastructure which has been moved into the CHDC datacentre facilities, and the requirement to take the approach which maximises risk reduction when the contract involves CNI, it is technically necessary to enter into an extension of the framework agreement,” said procurement documents published at the time. “It would not be sensible or without risk to the disruption of CNI to risk having to move incumbents to a new solution in the next few years.”

Crown Hosting is intended to support departments move applications the cloud by providing a stepping stone to doing so. 

“At the core of Crown Hosting is a desire to give public sector organisations a secure, efficient, and cost-effective route to the cloud,” its website said.

The DWP signed its first contract with CHDC in 2015, procuring one datacentre room. It signed up for a further three in 2016, with each room costing about £6.7m over the course of a deal that expired at the end of May.


Sam Trendall

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