UK Health Security Agency signs £50m AWS deal

Public health body, which operates as an agency of the DHSC, has this week signed an agreement for the provision of cloud services and related support in the coming years

The UK Health Security Agency has signed a £50m deal with Amazon Web Services for cloud hosting services and support.

The three-year contract came into effect on Monday and runs until 30 June 2027. The cloud provision delivered via the deal is intended to “to enable a centralised security and collab capability” for UKHSA, according to a freshly published commercial notice.

As well as core “cloud compute infrastructure” hosting services, AWS will provide UKHSA with its “bring your own licence” offering which, according to the vendor, is intended to help customers “effectively govern and manage software licenses” and scale usage up and down, according to need. The cloud company will also provide support, as well as training and professional services.

The text of the agreement states that AWS “is unable to and has no responsibility in terms of limiting [UKHSA] to a maximum quantity or value of services purchased under this… contract”.

The deal was awarded under the terms of OGVA 2.0 – the second iteration of AWS’s public sector discount scheme the One Government Value Agreement.

Over the 36-month term of its newly signed engagement, UKHSA has committed to a minimum spend of $38.6m – a figure which equates to a little over £30m at current exchange rates. The required baseline spending level rises by about $1m in each of the second two years of the contract.

And the government agency expects to spend considerably more than the stipulated minimum, estimating that the deal will be worth 150% of this figure: $57.9m. This equates to £45.5m – or potentially as high as £54.5m, once VAT is included.

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But this figure is likely to represent a significant reduction on the price that would have paid without the terms of the OGVA initiative.

The first version of OGVA was a memorandum of understanding agreed in 2020 between Whitehall procurement unit the Crown Commercial Service and AWS – which offers discounts to all government agencies and other public bodies by, effectively, treating the public sector as a single customer. In return, organisations are required to commit to a three-year engagement with the cloud vendor.

Following the conclusion of the initial agreement last year, AWS and CCS agreed to put in place another MOU for three years until 2026.

While details of both the first and second versions OGVA have not been publicised, PublicTechnology exclusively revealed that the initial iteration offered an across-the-board baseline discount of 18% on cloud hosting services. In addition to this saving, a further price reduction of 2% was available when services were paid for upfront and in full, while a partial upfront payment of at least 50% conferred on the buyer an extra 1% discount.

UKHSA joins a growing list of government agencies that have taken advantage of OGVA 2.0 including – on 1 December 2023, the first day the agreement came into effect – the Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions. The trio of major departments signed new AWS agreements that, between them, are expected to be worth between £680m and £900m to the tech firm. This represents a potential more-than-threefold increase on the £270m value of the three departments’ previous AWS contracts, signed under the first iteration of the OGVA arrangement.

UKHSA was created three years ago to replace and subsume the former Public Health England, as well as taking over the Test and Trace scheme and the Joint Biosecurity Centre that were established to support government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. The organisation operates as an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care.

Sam Trendall

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