Security concerns mean that civil servants will not be able to benefit from one of the biggest new sweeteners to Microsoft's controversial Software Assurance (SA) licensing package.
Since yesterday, organisations which have bought SA licences will be able to give staff free copies of Office software to install on a domestic PC for home working.
Products included in the Home User Programme include desktop applications such as Access, Excel, PowerPoint and Office.
But the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), which directs government procurement, said that it would not be taking advantage of the offer because staff are not allowed to use home PCs for government work.
The OGC explained that the ban is in place because of the risk of introducing viruses or backdoor Trojans into government systems.
"It is OGC policy for security reasons that employees are expressly forbidden to use home PCs for work purposes," said a spokeswoman.
"We wouldn't give them the software because we don't want them to use it on their home PCs.
"Civil servants won't be able to take advantage [of the Home User Programme] because they can't take the software home."
Mark Buckley, Microsoft's UK licensing manager, explained that it is up to individual organisations as to which benefits they want to adopt. But he stressed that home use did not necessarily mean home working.
"The benefit is to the organisation - how they use it is up to them," he said. "The perk is that SA allows you home use rights for personnel in the organisation."
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