Feeds

NHS told: freeze all Microsoft spend

Coalition re-centralises purchasing

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The Cabinet Office is halting all but emergency purchases of Microsoft software in the NHS as it negotiates a pan-government procurement deal with the software giant.

The Crown Representative, headed by former Micro Focus CEO Stephen Kelly – appointed by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude in April – is leading talks with 20 of the largest suppliers to the public sector, including HP and IBM.

Efforts to cut a deal with Microsoft are happening now, Kelly confirmed in letters sent to NHS Trusts mid-June, leaked to The Register by sources.

"It is my intention to develop a commercial arrangement with Microsoft which will provide better commercial terms; reduced cost and add greater flexibility," said Kelly.

"The focus of the government in its engagement with strategic suppliers is to act with one voice to secure the most favourable terms, therefore I ask for your continued support during this process and that you refrain from non-business critical spend with Microsoft until a new commercial arrangement is secured."

The Coalition canned an Enterprise Wide Agreement (EWA) with Microsoft worth £80m over three years covering the NHS after the election last summer, citing a lack of business case or budget to justify the renewal.

Local NHS Trusts were handed control over budgets and software compliance but as previously revealed, sources said the complexities of divvying up licence allocation and capital budgets from the central pool delayed the process.

In the letter, Kelly said he was aware that Microsoft had contacted Trusts regarding "potential purchases" but he urged procurement heads to contact Trisha Trough in the Cabinet Office or Alistair Price at Buying Solutions before placing orders.

"It is imperative that Her Majesty's customers scrutinise their requirements before embarking upon new arrangements with Microsoft," the letter stated.

This led to a deluge of requests from Trusts and Kelly then issued another correspondence days later, directing them to contact Connecting for Health, the Department for Health's Informatics arm.

In a statement, Microsoft general manager for the public sector Dr Nicola Hodson said that Redmond was building on the PSA09 – the software-purchasing model recently formed with the UK public sector – to drive "better value for money, greater choice and flexibility in the licensing of enterprise software."

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman told El Reg that the government is "taking a strategic approach to major suppliers to ensure that it acts effectively as a "single client".

This exercise is surfacing in the police sector as well, with Home Secretary Theresa May this week lifting the covers off plans to develop a police led ICT company to lead procurement across all 43 forces.

These plans will lead to a review of the existing Sprint ii framework when the police firm is launched in spring 2012. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.