MoD seeks potential £300m supplier for flexible Secret IT services

Ministry reveals intent to appoint provider to long-term contract to deliver digital system for classified info, alongside ‘change management’ services enabling personnel to take advantage of new tech and innovation

The Ministry of Defence is seeking a new provider to fulfil a potential £300m-plus contract to deliver IT services to support Secret info and operations.

The ministry has published a contract notice inviting bids for an initial five-year deal to provide “digital end user services at Secret” – the middle level of government security classification, between Official and Top Secret. Procurement documents reveal that the services in question will be used by more than 17,000 MoD personnel across 230 locations in the UK and a further 60 overseas.

The services to be offered will comprise a comprehensive range of “user-facing services, including end-to-end lifecycle management… that enables user access to devices that are appropriate to their role and environment; provision of secure, up-to-date workplace desktop and applications that provide user communication and collaboration services; end-to-end lifecycle management of printers that enables appropriately authorised users to access hard-copy printing services; and management of information and historical records that have been created or received and are required to be maintained”.

The chosen supplier – whose contract is expected to come into effect next summer – will initially take over, on an as-is basis, the provision of an existing Secret-level IT service based on the ministry’s MODNET network infrastructure.

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Over the coming years, the provider will be expected to deliver “change management” services support the MoD and its users in delivering upgrades to existing services and systems, and the implementation of new functionality. The contract – which could be extended to a total term of seven years – will “include a flexible and reactive change mechanism to allow the exploitation of service advancements, including the ability to integrate new services and implement changes to scale as defence requires”, according to procurement documents.

Changes that may be incorporated could include “changes in technology and innovation… the management of obsolescence… [and the] rationalisation of authority IT systems and the take on of other services where it is in the [MoD’s] interests to combine service delivery, service outcomes, service users or otherwise bring together IT systems and services”.

Because of the need to build in “contractual change mechanisms” to address these potential developments, the MoD said that the baseline contract value of £137m could increase by as much as an additional £200m, taking spending as high as £337m, if the deal runs to its full seven-year term.

A classification level of Secret is applied to “very sensitive information that requires enhanced protective controls… [and] whereby a compromise could threaten life… seriously damage the UK’s security and/or international relations, its financial security/stability or impede its ability to investigate serious and organised crime”, according to government guidance.

Because of the high sensitivity of the services and data covered, the ministry has designated a High “cyber risk profile” for the engagement. Consequently, suppliers will only be considered if they are “registered and operating in the UK and has at least 50% of its directors (or equivalent) who are both UK nationals and domiciled in the UK”.

Before the commencement of the contract, the company – and staff who will be engaged in delivery – will need to go through security clearance processes.

Suppliers interested in bidding for the contract have until 6 September to do so.

Sam Trendall

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