DWP buys £16m of laptops to support homeworking

Department signs two-year deal with reseller CDW

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

The Department for Work and Pensions has signed a £16m supply deal for laptop devices to support staff in working from home.

Newly published procurement information shows that, on 13 July, the department entered into a two-year contract with IT reseller CDW. The deal will be worth £16.2m to the US-headquartered firm.

The engagement covers the “storage and supply of laptop bundles to support WFH (working from home) activities”.

The text of contract reveals that this will include delivery of new and replacement machines direct to users’ homes, as well as the collection of faulty or outgoing machines.

The redacted contract does not provide details of the makes and models to be supplied, nor is there information on the price-per-unit or the total number of devices covered by the deal. If each bundle cost the department £400, the value of the deal would cover the provision of more than 40,000 machines. At £500, it would be about 32,500.

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As well as laptop supply, CDW will be expected to store and back-up relevant data.

“The supplier shall perform secure back-ups of all authority data and shall ensure that up-to-date back-ups are stored off-site in accordance with the business continuity plan,” the contract said. “The supplier shall ensure that such back-ups are available to the authority at all times upon request.  Confirmation that secure back-ups have been performed in accordance with the authority’s requirements… shall be provided to the authority no less than every three months.”

The DWP’s investment in enabling homeworking strikes a notable contrast with the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, when the department was conspicuous by the extent to which its staff were still required to go into offices

At the end of April 2020 – by which point almost all government departments were operating with more than 95% of staff working from – only 20% of the DWP’s workforce were logging in remotely.

In May 2020 employment minister Mims Davies said that, to better support homeworking, the department had bought an extra 13,000 laptops.

The DWP has almost 80,000 workers in total.

Having enabled more and more employees to work remotely over the course of the pandemic, the department’s permanent secretary Peter Schofield last month offered assurance to the PCS union that staff will not face a “back to the office” drive when now that coronavirus-related restrictions have been relaxed.


Sam Trendall

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