MoJ stuck with supplier that keeps ‘heritage applications’ running

Written by PublicTechnology staff on 13 November 2020 in News
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Ministry to spend up to £90m with CGI to continue support of ageing software packages

Credit: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

The Ministry of Justice has extended CGI’s contract to support more than 50 software applications without a competitive tender, saying it is the only supplier that can keep them going for the next couple of years. 

It will pay CGI up to £90m to extend a deal which has already run for more than five years and was due to expire on 30 November. The new contract ends on 31 August 2022 with the option of a 12-month extension. 

In a notice published in the Official Journal of the EU, the ministry said most of the software packages are used by HM Courts and Tribunal Service. “Most of the applications are classed as ‘heritage applications’ due to their age,” it said, with many more than 15 years old. 

“The heritage applications are difficult to maintain because of their age and complexity and the extent to which they have been changed over the years and require very specialist technical knowledge and experience, e.g. skills/experience in using aged programming languages such as Fortran, Cobol, Pascal and C,” the notice added. 

The ministry said that there were limited numbers of people with the skills, knowledge and experience to maintain or enhance the software outside CGI, that it would take between 18 and 24 months to run a competitive procurement and that a replacement supplier could then need a year to build development and testing systems.  

It added that the maximum value of £90m assumes the contract is extended to August 2023 and is split equally between service charges and project work with the latter optional, so the actual cost may be lower. 

The ministry intends to retire some of its heritage software applications during the new contract’s period and is planning to run a competitive procurement process for maintaining the rest before 2022. 

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