A big IT networking deal is up for grabs at a Birmingham hospital, after its current contract under the high-profile Public Finance Initiative (PFI) comes to an end.
University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) requires a "stable and well-managed" ICT network, as well as "resilient service for each layer of the network, covering support of hardware and software, configuration management and performance reporting".
The contract will last for an initial five-year period, with an option to twice extend it by a further year at a time. It is estimated to be worth between £7m and £12m over that period.
The new contract will replace the one agreed under the PFI contract which has been in place at UHB for more than a decade.
"The ICT network that provides the infrastructure which supports access to all UHB's software applications, data services and telephone systems has been provided since 2006 as an outsourced managed service via UHB's PFI contract," said a recently published tender document. "The PFI arrangement for the ICT network ends in January 2019 and the purpose of the proposed tendering process is to put in place new contractual arrangements."
PFI is a government scheme which funded major public building projects such as schools, roads, prisons and hospitals. Between 1997 and 2006, about £50bn of public-private deals were signed under the agreement.
In a Q&A about the PFI scheme hosted on UHB's website, it claims it was the "only viable option" available when funding the new hospital as it was the government's preferred way to fund major new building projects, without which it would not have been able to modernise its old buildings.
The PFI scheme - which stretched beyond just the UHB in Birmingham - has come under scrutiny since it was signed.
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