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Making a common case for exiting IT contracts

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In Common Technology Services (CTS) we’re working with departments to provide the ‘right’ technology for Civil Servants. In most cases, this technology can be built or purchased once and then used many times across multiple departments.

Unfortunately, the main barrier that prevents departments from investing in these solutions is the contract landscape. Many still have large, legacy contracts using system integrators which affect their ability to change their technology estate. They’re faced with costly change control requests and complicated workarounds to link up cloud-based commodity solutions with their existing technology.

The latest figures from the Complex Transaction Team (CTT) show that there are IT contracts with a value of £3.8bn ending over the course of this Parliament. £1.5 bn of these expire over the next two years. As these contracts come to an end, and the associated exit programmes start, departments have the opportunity to adopt common technology solutions to accelerate their business transformation.

Working with HS2

This is where we can help. CTS has been leading an approach involving expertise from across Cabinet Office which includes the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and the CTT.

By talking to departments with one voice we’re well placed to be able to:

  • identify major IT commercial exit programmes
  • provide early support
  • reduce risk
  • accelerate technology transformation across government

We don’t just provide support for major exit programmes. We’re building up a knowledge base of documents and tools which will be useful to programmes of any size. With this constantly evolving knowledge base we can provide smaller programmes with the advice and capability they need to help themselves. It will continue to grow as we work with more exit programmes, learn lessons and identify the best practice that is already happening out there.

In June last year, we began work to assist the HS2 Programme. James Findlay and his team have already been doing a great job migrating to the cloud, but we were confident we could help them achieve even better value and bring their IT estate back ‘in-house’. This started with a series of collaborative workshops where we identified a number of areas where CTS could provide support to help accelerate the programme delivery.

We’ve agreed with HS2 to provide support and help accelerate work in some of their key workstreams. The main areas are:

  • service requirements - a list of all service obligations that future suppliers will be accountable to deliver against
  • service levels - a list of services and measurements that need to be delivered
  • security requirements - documentation of HS2 security requirements
  • exit requirements - exit criteria for future Exit management following disaggregation
  • collaboration requirements - requirements on how suppliers will work together following disaggregation
  • multi-party operating model documentation - process and procedural documentation for working in a disaggregated model
  • TUPE-related activities for HS2 from Fujitsu - assurance and challenge of TUPE information supplied by Fujitsu

We were also asked to support their procurement by supplementing the HS2 team with capability from the Cabinet Office. This has proved to be more cost effective for a smaller programme and provides resources they wouldn’t normally have.

By engaging closely with the Cabinet Office Spend Control team during various stages of the programme, the team has helped make sure that conditional approvals were achievable and in-line with the Technology Code of Practice, central to Department for Transport and HS2 strategies.

Learning from doing

This is one of the team’s first engagements with a department and it’s been a big learning curve. We’ve learnt a lot about the best way we can approach and support programmes of this scale and nature. HS2 are clearly taking the right approach to their contract exit and we’ve been able to take their good practices into our exit framework to be used by other government departments and agencies.

We’ll use these lessons to further develop the support programme for large expiring contracts and look to support more departments in exiting their contracts in the future.

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