Feeds

NHS told: freeze all Microsoft spend

Coalition re-centralises purchasing

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.