Apple, Lenovo and Dell laptops have been offered to over 2,000 civil servants as part of a major technology transformation within government, V3 has learned.
A government spokesman told V3 that staff at the Cabinet Office, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Crown Commercial Service have been the first to be able to choose which device they want to use for work.
The five laptops on offer are an 11in or 13in Apple MacBook Air, a Dell XPS 13, a Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga S1 or a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon.
A source close to V3 revealed that they had received a new Apple MacBook Air in December under the scheme.
The spokesman said that the initiative was trialled in August with around 250 civil servants taking part. It then expanded across the Cabinet Office and was completed in the new year. Other departments are still rolling out.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude (pictured) officially revealed the technology transformation programme during the Sprint 15 event on Tuesday.
He touted the move as offering major savings compared with its prior contract with Fujitsu, which expired on 31 January 2015.
"We have installed secure Wi-Fi and allowed users to choose their own devices and collaborate on documents," he said.
"We're expecting this to deliver a minimum of 40 percent cost savings on IT across government."
The initiative has gained favour with civil servants. One was quoted as saying: "This is the first time I've felt valued as a civil servant. For once they haven‘t just given us crap, they've given us something good."
Maude explained that the initiative has allowed the government to move away from its previous approach to IT procurement and support with big companies.
"Government contracts were too long, too big and too opaque. Now they're smaller, shorter and more open, and that's only the beginning," he said.
"It's our hope that by 2020 the remaining outsourced legacy technology contracts that are still in place will have gone."
The Cabinet Office spokesman added that the transformation programme gives government departments more flexibility and agility. The accreditation of Google Apps for government use, for example, allows civil servants to embrace mobility trends and work for home.
"We are building up the capacity to develop and manage our own services for ourselves," he said.
"That means we can change things quickly if we need to and won't have to wait another five years or more before we can make significant improvements."
The Cabinet Office has also established its own dedicated IT team, whereas support was previously outsourced to Fujitsu.
The spokesman declined to comment on which departments will adopt the technology transformation programme next.
Part of the wider technology transformation programme also involves the creation of a government-as-a-platform to simplify public sector technology tools.
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