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UK to launch new £1.8 billion tech buying framework

Framework to replace "Data and Application Solutions" which attracted 72 suppliers.

The UK’s government is gearing up to launch a new £1.8 billion technology procurement framework.

Dubbed the “Vertical Application Solutions” framework, it is being designed by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to let public sector customers access software software licences, solution-essential hardware, app-related consultancy services, software support and maintenance, The Stack understands.

It will be broken into five lots: “bluelight solutions”; “citizen services”; “housing, environmental and planning solutions”; “education, community health and social care solutions”; and “business applications”.

“It is intended that this commercial agreement will be the recommended vehicle for all who require software that was developed to meet the needs of their particular industry, as well as the associated essential hardware and professional services required to deliver the relevant software solution, in one procurement” CCS said.

See also: Critical bug in Java framework sets off an internet cluster bomb

The Stack understands that the framework – currently in the Public Information Notice (PIN) stage – will be used by all government departments but “particularly addresses the needs of customers in the blue light, education, local authority and social care sectors.” It will replace the existing Data and Application Solutions framework. A full contract notice is expected to go live in June 2022, the CCS said in its notice.

The outgoing framework, which is broken into 12 lots, attracted a total of 72 suppliers. Public sector buyers can tap such frameworks to procure software or services either by direct award, further competition (including electronic reverse auction) or by using the CCS’s “complementary aggregation service.

In other CCS news, the travel platform it operates for civil servants (Digital Travel Solution, or DigiTS), which launched in 2018, remains offline after being found to be exposed to the Log4j vulnerability that kept CISOs and IT teams around the world working overtime around the Christmas period as they scrambled to patch the critical bug in the ubiquitous Java library -- which would have allowed remote access to unauthenticated attackers.

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