The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and Crown Hosting Data Centres have agreed on a four-year extension of the framework contract for data centre services to the public sector.
It will go into operation from March of next year and has been valued by CCS at up £500 million.
The agreement marks an acknowledgement that, despite the gradual migration to cloud applications, many public authorities still see a need for hosted data centres into the near to medium term.
Crown Hosting – a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Ark Data Centres – provides relevant systems, local area network service, data centre connectivity and facilities from locations at different regions of the UK.
Its deal with CCS provides a single set of terms and conditions for public sector buyers and is claimed to offer substantial savings. Call-off contracts under the agreement can be awarded for up to five years with options to extend for another two.
The shared service was set up three years ago with the aim of cutting the cost of data centre services for public authorities. In March of last year CCS took over from the Government Digital Service as the custodian of the framework contract, with its cloud and digital technology team responsible for setting the strategic direction and commercial delivery.
The new deal was concluded without any prior information notice or competition due to the assessment that the facilities offered by Crown Hosting form part of the critical national infrastructure (CNI), and that an extension would remove any risks associated with a move to a different supplier.
The contract notice states: “It would not be sensible or without risk to the disruption of CNI to risk having to move incumbents to a new solution in the next few years. It had not been appreciated the level of CNI that would rely on this solution when the Framework was set up.
“In making the decision we also recognised the need for current customers to have the ability to bring on board other wider areas of their business to connect and operate with. These wider customers would need to have the ability to individually contract within the framework agreement.
“If new customers were unable to utilise the framework this would cause significant inconvenience and a substantial duplication of costs for customers having to pause their transformation and seek an impractical solutions.”
Image (amended) by Intel Free Press, CC BY 2.0 through flickr