The government has fired the gun on a huge IT hardware and software framework which could see up to 52 resellers bidding for as much as £6bn worth of business.
The current public sector commodity hardware procurement vehicle – CITHS – was due to expire in February but the government extended it for six months amid supplier fears that its successor would not be up and running in time.
According to a tender document published this week, the Cabinet Office is seeking to procure a wide range of IT kit such as PCs, tablets, storage and networks as well as other IT services.
The framework will run for four years and is estimated to be worth between £4bn and £6bn excluding VAT over that period. The document lists a deadline date of 15 June.
Public sector bodies across the board – including central-government bodies, local authorities, NHS bodies and other public agencies – will have access to the kit once the framework is in action, the tender document said.
It added that the public sector is in need of "a commercial solution for the provision of complex or high-value requirements, enabling government to compete aggregated volume purchases across the industry".
The Crown Commercial Service – part of the Cabinet Office – is leading the bid, backed by buying group Pro5 and the Ministry of Defence.
The framework will consist of four lots. The first – Technology Hardware – requires VARs to provide the government with end-user devices, audiovisual kit, network infrastructure and IT peripherals, while the second, Packaged Software, tenders for a range of commercial, off-the-shelf software and services.
"Suppliers suitable for this [second] lot would be expected to have access to discounts and significant rebates from software vendors through the use of their partnering arrangement levels (eg Silver and Gold) which would then be used to pass on discounts and rebates to customers," the government stipulated in the document.
The third lot, Secure Technology Products and Disposals, requires a mix of both hardware and software while the final lot, User Devices, targets OEM suppliers which can provide their own-branded end-user kit.
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