Cafcass signs £25m shared services deal

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) is spending £25m to join a transformational government framework...

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) is spending £25m to join a transformational government framework, which gives it a shared IT service.

Cafcass said the deal would lower the cost of its ICT ownership.

For £25m Cafcass gets access to the Flex Shared Services Programme, run by Fujitsu Services in conjunction with the Cabinet Office, which offers ICT as a shared service across the public sector.

Under the terms of the seven-year contract, Cafcass will have the right to a complete refresh of hardware and software after four years, after paying £14m of its £25m contract. The refresh extends to laptops and thin-client devices.

Cafcass will also receive service desk, server management and disaster recovery services.

Fujitsu will put 2,000 desktops in 100 offices, manage Cafcass's business applications and offer new office applications.

Managed security services are included in the contract, as the public sector organisation seeks to improve security for staff working remotely from family courts, home or other government offices.

"This Flex framework offers a modern IT infrastructure, with improved levels of service and support and access to a range of consultancy skills and experience," said Lamorna Wooderson, Cafcass's corporate director.

Improved security was a top priority, she said. "As a department which looks after the interests of children, this is vital. Our staff will work more effectively when working remotely, in the confidence that sensitive data will not be compromised."

The transformation project contract starts in October of this year and is scheduled to finish in June 2009.

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