The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is to outsource its IT requirements in a deal expected to be worth over £350m.
Defra will outsource its IT infrastructure services and application development, with the contract expected to be awarded early in 2004.
Over the coming months, the department will work with law firm Masons on some of the contract issues involved. Some functions and strategic control of its infrastructure will remain with Defra.
Choosing outsourcers has so far proved problematic for Government departments. Parliamentary select committees have called for a tightening up of contracts for outsourced deals following a series of high-profile IT project disasters.
"We look forward to establishing a partnership approach with the successful bidder while ensuring that central Government is properly protected against the many pitfalls which can occur in large IT outsourcing arrangements," said David Isaac, IT partner at Masons.
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