In terms of the actual deal, a contract award notice published today on a European tenders page says “CSC Computer Sciences Limited” will provide Defra, Natural England, The Environment Agency, The Rural Payments Agency, Marine Management Organisation and The Animal and Plant Health Agency with a range of IT services.
These will include “implementation, provision, management and operation of a range of end user devices, foundation services (including active directory, PKI, IDAM and single sign on), assistive technology, security, office productivity, end user communication and line of business application presentation”.
A DXC spokesman said the company was not ready to comment.
DXC Contract Follows ATOS Win
The contract was announced weeks after Defra handed French IT giant Atos a £135 million, five-year contract to provide data centre services and support 250 applications for 21,000 Defra staff.
It came despite the Public Accounts Committee just two years ago blasting Atos over its development of an IT system that was designed to pull data of GP practice systems, saying it “did not show an appropriate duty of care to the taxpayer” and “appears to have acted solely with its own short-term best interests in mind”.
DXC predecessor, CSC, in 2015 meanwhile was charged with manipulating financial results and concealing significant problems about a high-profile multi-billion pound contract with the NHS. CSC was described as a “rotten company providing a hopeless system” over its delivery of the NHS contract, by Margaret Hodge MP, then the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
The flurry of contracts comes as Defra scrambles to combine its IT transformation programme, UniTY – intended to help it exit longstanding contracts and upgrade legacy systems – with readiness for Brexit amid concerns that legacy systems could cause major issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Mark Hastings, head of Public Sector at Rainmaker, told Computer Business Review: “It looks like jobs for the boys again; there’s very little sign of genuine effort at disaggregation; they’re just moving the pieces around.”