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  1. Government Computing
January 4, 2016

MoJ carries out rethink of FITS programme

Department admits it is reviewing Future IT Sourcing blueprint "to make sure the technology and services meet our needs"

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is understood to be carrying out a major review of its Future IT Sourcing (FITS) programme with a “reset” predicted for early this year.

The programme was established to implement a service tower and service integration and management (SIAM) operating model for the delivery of ICT services across the MoJ and to procure replacement contracts that supported the model.

In the last couple of years, a series of service tower contracts have been let to CGI (hosting, applications), Atos (end user computing) and Lockheed Martin (SIAM).

Now, it seems, a rethink of the FITS model is underway, prompted perhaps by criticism of the service tower model, slow deployment of the programme and some question marks over the future of Lockheed Martin within government IT.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson told Government Computing, “The FITS programme delivers and manages IT contracts across the department. We are reviewing the programme to make sure the technology and services continue to meet our needs.”

Sources have already suggested that a so-called “reset” of FITS is being planned. One vendor admitted, “FITS has been very slow to deploy, largely because the MoJ has changed scope so much and so frequently that it looks nothing like its original intention.”

Another suggested FITS, in its original form, was being quietly being laid to rest.

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It is possible that the FITS service towers and SIAM model at the MoJ has been under question since the Cabinet Office and theGovernment Digital Service (GDS) questioned the validity of the model in a blog last year.

The now notorious “Knocking Down the Towers of SIAM” blog said, “A fundamental part of our guidance was about taking accountability for decisions about technology and digital services back into government. For large parts of the Civil Service that had so completely outsourced their IT, this meant a massive shift in approach, which takes time and can be scary.

“This fear of change meant some organisations clung onto the concept of outsourcing, which they understood, but they also wanted to comply with the new policy of multi-sourcing IT provision – something that is recognised as best practice across the industry.”

It went on, “Unfortunately, the combination of these two forces created a hybrid model unique to government. The model is usually referred to as the Tower Model. It combines outsourcing with multi-sourcing but loses the benefits of either. The model has arisen because organisations have used a procurement-led solution in response to legacy outsourcing contracts ending. Rather than changing their approach and emphasis, they have ended up outsourcing their IT again, but in pieces.

“Organisations have adopted the Tower Model, believing they are following government policy and using best practice, but they are doing neither. I am now writing this post to be clear that the Tower Model is not condoned and not in line with Government policy. Government should use the best of what is already out there – not develop its own model.”

It is not known whether a review of the current FITS model would affect MoJ service tower incumbent suppliers. But current service tower contracts are thought unlikely to be impacted.

Last year, Lockheed Martin said it would review options for its government IT and technical services business, mainly in Information Systems & Global Solutions.

Specifically, the company had said it was looking to divest five major components of its information systems business:

– Air traffic management
– Technical services
– Government/Enterprise IT
– Commercial cyber
– Government health care IT

It is understood that the outcome of Lockheed Martin’s review of its IS business will now be completed by the end of Q1 2016.

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