The Home Office confirmed it has extended its long-running IT outsourcing contract with Fujitsu by another two years to 2018.
The “Sirius” contract is one of the longest-running in government at a time when official policy is to break up such deals in favour of smaller agreements that can be competitively renegotiated through the G-Cloud framework.
It was first signed in 2000 and this is its second extension. The Home Office said in 2014 it did not plan to further extend the Fujitsu contract or another large deal with systems integrator Atos.
Fujitsu provides hardware and technical support to about 24,000 users, or 70 percent of Home Office staff, with Atos providing software.
The office said it remains committed to “ending the culture of awarding large IT contracts to single suppliers”.
“As we make this change, it is important we ensure a smooth transition to these new services,” the Home Office stated. “We have therefore extended the transition period of our Fujitsu contract until April 2018.”
The extension goes against official Cabinet Office policy and that of the Government Digital Service (GDS) tasked with overseeing digital change projects in government, but GDS is itself in transition following the departure of several key leaders over the past three months.
The Cabinet Office began a review earlier this year to establish principles that could help departments move away from the long-term outsourcing contracts due to expire during the current parliament.
Ending such deals has proven challenging, however, with HM Revenue and Customs saying earlier this year it would take a phased approach to shutting down its £600 million per year Aspire contract with Capgemini and Fujitsu.
Under that approach some services will continue running until 2020, three years beyond the planned exit in 2017.
Fujitsu said earlier this month it plans to cut up to 1,800 jobs in the UK next year, but said the move was not related to changes in its government contracts.
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