The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has begun the pre-procurement for a shared service of back office tech as part of the Matrix Programme for central government.
It has published a prior information notice for relevant technology and systems integration services – with an emphasis on the inclusion of cloud based enterprise resource planning (ERP) – saying it is aimed at replacing end-of-life technology and modernising back office services in the relevant departments and agencies.
The procurement involves eight departments within the ‘policy’ cluster of the Matrix Programme – BEIS, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, International Trade, Education, Health and Social Care, the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury – along with eight arm’s length bodies – the UK Space Agency, Insolvency Service, Government Property Agency, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Crown Commercial Service and Building Digital UK.
No value has been stated so far, but BEIS has indicated that it intends to run a bundled a procurement in which the technology suppliers and systems integrators work together from the outset to produce a cohesive solution. This will involve them demonstrating that they can provide a “compatible supplier partnership”.
Although the details of the procurement are yet to be finalised, the notice says it could involve either the award of modular and separable contracts with a consortium each for ERP and system integration services, or the selection of a prime contractor. It is not, however, expected to include lots for the services.
Efficiencies, self-service and automation
The move derives from the Shared Services Strategy for Government, published in 2018 and revised in March of last year, which identifies the potential for cloud based ERP to deliver efficiencies through self-service and automation,
The prior information notice says: “The new shared service will have a focus on convergence across data, policies and processes, enabled by a scalable system, paving the way for increasing interoperability across government, with the procurement bringing together.”
The procurement and implementation of the solutions is likely to be a stiff challenge, as it will involve replacing 15 instances of nine software solutions and 10 service providers across the eight departments, serving 46,000 users.
The Shared Services Strategy involves four other clusters of central government bodies, for defence, overseas activities, delivery and HM Revenue and Customs.
In December of last year the National Audit Office published a critical report on the progress of strategy, highlighting issues with the procurement of ERP systems and calling for clusters of departments to have more flexibility.
Managed services deal
BEIS has meanwhile concluded a smaller deal within the Matrix Programme, awarding a two-year, £7.9 million contract to TPXImpact for digital managed services.
This covers the provision of flexible and scalable digital through a range of work packages on data, technology implementations, business change and the alignment of policy and processes.