Headlines: May 28th, 2004

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has chosen IBM as its preferred IT services partner in its modernisation programme aimed at improving the department’s services to the public and to its own staff. The deal will see a number of Defra staff moving to IBM.The decision was made following a competitive tender and Defra will now be working closely with IBM over the coming weeks to finalise the contract and with a view to switching to new service arrangements later this year.

Under the agreement, IBM will manage, support and improve Defra’s desktop IT infrastructure and business systems – including developing a range of new systems – and provide a continuous source of technology and business process innovation.

Alun Michael, the Minister of State for Rural Affairs, said the agreement would create capacity to accelerate the pace of change and at the same time reduce costs and increase the quality of service delivered to staff. Programme Director David Myers added, “This has been a very competitive process with both the shortlisted companies, IBM and Capgemini, demonstrating strong commitment and enthusiasm.” He said the procurement process had gone smoothly with all delivery dates being met.

The contract, which will run for seven to ten years with an option to extend for a further seven years, will see about 330 Defra IT staff transferring to IBM when it begins. There will be a detailed consultation process over this with the trade unions.