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Home Office reinforces commitment to AWS with £100m cloud hosting deal

The Home Office’s position as one of the central government’s biggest cloud spenders shows no signs of slipping, as details emerge of four-year contract with Amazon Web Services

The UK Home Office has reinforced its commitment to using Amazon Web Services (AWS) by signing a four-year, £100m deal with the public cloud provider.

News of the deal was made public on 7 January 2020 following the publication of the award notice on the government’s Contract Finders website.

Although details of the procurement have only just emerged, the award notice confirms that the contract officially started on 12 December 2019, and will run until 11 December 2023.

In a statement to Computer Weekly, the Home Office confirmed that the deal is effectively a renewal of a pre-existing contract between the two entities.

“The award of the public cloud hosting services contract to Amazon is a continuation of services already provided to the Home Office,” a departmental spokesperson told Computer Weekly. “The contract award provides significant savings for the department of a four-year term.”

The Home Office is renowned for being a heavy user of cloud technologies, and is – according to the government’s own Digital Marketplace IT spending league table – by far the biggest buyer of off-premise services and technologies via the G-Cloud procurement framework.

According to its data, the Home Office has an evidenced spend of £772.63m on cloud services procured via G-Cloud, with £123.41m of this occurring during the 2019/2020 financial year so far. AWS appears to account for about £45.5m of the total spent by the Home Office to date. 

In second place is the Department for Work and Pensions, which has spent about half of the Home Office’s total through G-Cloud since the inception of the framework in 2012, having bought £345.23m of services through it to date.

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The Home Office recently published a case study outlining the steps it is taking to ensure its increasing use of off-premise technologies is proceeding in a cost and performance-efficient way.

As reported by Computer Weekly, the department released details of how its Immigration Technology team had embarked on a programme of IT resource optimisation-focused work that had already generated savings of 40% during the previous year.

This work included ramping up its use of discounted cloud compute capacity during off-peak periods or by purchasing resources up-front for a lower price, and ensuring that systems were only running as and when needed to keep running costs down.

“By continuing these techniques, the team is confident it can increase cloud cost savings by at least another 20% as it continues to experiment,” the department said at the time.

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