The Cabinet Office is due to launch its ‘technology transformation programme’ at the end of August, according to the department’s CTO Tom Read.
Work on the project started in October 2013 and it is designed to replace the Cabinet Office’s main IT contract with Fujitsu, which was signed in 2007 and is due to expire in January 2015.
The new services will also be rolled out to civil servants at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The new solutions to be used by Cabinet Office and DCMS civil servants include Box cloud storage and sharing collaboration tools, project management application Trello, Salesforce’s CRM and video conferencing equipment.
The team is currently working with CESG, GCHQ’s information assurance wing, to try to gain accreditation for a number of tools including Google Apps. It also recently installed open WiFi at the Cabinet Office’s headquarters at 70 Whitehall.
He added: “We have tested the solutions extensively with users and think they’re going to love them. Less importantly, the new technology is substantially cheaper year on year than what is currently in place: things can be better and cheaper.”
HM Treasury, which used to share services with the Cabinet Office via the ‘Flex’ contract with Fujitsu, has taken a different approach, replacing the single supplier arrangement with a number of contracts.
Japanese systems integrator NTT Data won the core three-year IT contract in May, while Basingstoke-based SME Centerprise won a four-year deal in April to provide media and wireless ICT services to the department.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office will have an inhouse IT service which will run a ‘tech bar’ for on-the-spot fixes, according to GDS’ latest quarterly update.
Instead of pursuing a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policy, users will be able to choose their own device from a range including iPads, Kindle Fires, notebooks, MacBooks, Android phones, Windows 8 tablets and laptops.
The team working on the project have been running feedback sessions to discuss civil servants’ views on government IT. Read outlined some of the opinions shared in the GOV.UK blog post.
He said that he had been surprised by “the level of passion, engagement and, in some cases, outright anger at the state of IT in some government departments.”
The complaints included issues with slow, unreliable and heavy laptops, distant, unresponsive and frustrating support arrangements, being issued with old mobile phones, and not being consulted before new systems are introduced, Read said.
Read added that many civil servants feel “confused and annoyed” at being blocked from using the internet, an issue highlighted by the Government Digital Service in a report earlier this year.