Home Office signs £400m AWS deal as new public sector-wide discount scheme takes effect

Department also signs £30m contract for Microsoft Azure as Crown Commercial Service reveals that second iteration of Amazon One Government Value Agreement will provide three tiers of savings for buyers

The Home Office has signed a potential £400m-plus deal with Amazon Web Services, becoming one the first organisations to take advantage of the second iteration of the cloud vendor’s public sector-wide discount scheme.

The department – which has also awarded a concurrent £30m contact for Microsoft Azure cloud services – entered into a three-year deal with AWS on Friday. A minimum of about £235m will be spent with Amazon during this period, with the total value liable to rise as high as $524m – which currently equates to about £414m – according to the text of the contract.

The deal has been signed under the terms of the OGVA 2.0 – the second iteration of the One Government Value Agreement, a three-year arrangement which was originally agreed by AWS and the Crown Commercial Service in 2020. As exclusively revealed by PublicTechnology the following year, the memorandum of understanding offered public-sector buyers a baseline discount of 18% on cloud hosting, as well as other savings and benefits. In return, organisations were required to sign up to a three-year contract.

As the first version of the cloud MoU neared its scheduled conclusion, CCS told PublicTechnology two months ago that it hoped to renew the arrangement. Later that month, OGVA 2.0 came into effect, according to a recently published update on the procurement agency’s website.

Alongside the Home Office, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has also acted swiftly to sign a new three-year AWS contract under the terms of the updated discount agreement.

The CCS website indicates that OGVA 2.0, which runs until October 2026, consists of three tiers, beginning with a Cloud Discoverer level which is designed to offer “benefits aimed at organisations that have yet to adopt the cloud and [to help] these organisations conduct their first cloud projects”.

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The next tier up, called Cloud Scaler, is aimed at “organisations that have already begun their cloud journey and want to benefit from the greater use of cloud technologies”, while the top-level Cloud Prime offering “features benefits for more cloud-mature organisations that are in the process of growing their cloud deployments and want to optimise the benefits of cloud technologies”.

“This MoU allows UK public sector organisations to come together and act as a single customer – offering greater benefits in terms of training, access to an OGVA credit programme that aligns with government technology missions, and enhanced cost savings for the whole of the public sector,” the site adds. “AWS has aligned the MoU to support a move towards a more efficient, secure and sustainable future, enabling the public sector to have digital skills at scale, remediate legacy, and build data platforms, whilst harnessing emerging technologies such as generative AI.”

The level of savings offered via the renewed agreement – and whether it mimics the 18-20% baseline discount of the first iteration – has not yet been made public.

‘Shared responsibility’
The Home Office’s contract with AWS indicates that the department “will receive a discount on the service charges in accordance with the mechanism set out” in the terms of OGVA 2.0.

Amazon cannot limit the amount of hosting and other services consumed via the contract, while the Home Office will determine the location of the AWS facilities where its data is stored and can also “request… an independent audit report in respect of the operations of the supplier’s physical infrastructure”.

Both parties will be accountable for ensuring data is adequately secured. In order to do so, the Home Office is encouraged to make use of Amazon’s own security services.

“Under the AWS shared responsibility model, the buyer also has a responsibility to ensure the protection of its own buyer data,” the contract says. “The supplier provides tools and service offerings to assist buyers with the protection of buyer data [and] strongly recommends that buyers use AWS Services such as CloudTrail, Security Hub and GuardDuty to ensure that the buyer is in compliance with data protection legislation.”

Alongside the AWS deal, the Home Office has also signed a three-deal for Microsoft Azure cloud hosting services. The £30m engagement was awarded to one of the vendor’s reseller partners, Phoenix Software, and came into effect on 1 November.

Sam Trendall

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