Cabinet Office faces second legal challenge over technology framework

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has received a second legal challenge over procurement for a technology framework.

The procurement process for the framework, dubbed ‘Technology Products’, began in May. The overall value of the framework could reach £6 billion over its four year lifetime, covering four lots: technology hardware, packaged software, secure technology products and disposals, and user devices.

The Cabinet Officeconfirmed to ComputerworldUK that CCS has received a second legal challenge during the standstill period between the contract award and its signing.

However the department refused to say which of the 85 companies listed by CCS as formally involved in the procurement lodged either challenge, or explain the grounds for the action.

It is also unclear what will happen when its predecessor framework, for ‘commoditised IT hardware and software’ (CITHS), expires on 31 October. The Cabinet Office did not confirm if it is trying to agree emergency extensions.

A spokesperson said: “We are reviewing our position and will update suppliers in due course. We are also exploring options to ensure continuity of service for our customers.”

The procurement has already been delayed once after legal action forced the Crown Commercial Service to review the initial line-up of firms.

Intention-to-award letters were sent to 33 companies at the start of September, but the 10-day standstill period was extended until 3 October after an intital legal challenge. Following the second challenge the Cabinet Office refused to say when the second extention to the standstill period will end.

The Crown Commercial Service was also expected to launch the successor to the Public Services Network, dubbed ‘Network Services’, last week.

The Cabinet Office did not explain the delay or clarify when the ‘Network Services' framework will launch when contacted by ComputerworldUK, but said it has not been subject to a legal challenge.

Update: the Cabinet Office provided the following statement on Wednesday 15 October:

“The timescales for the publication of the OJEU notice for the Network Services procurement are currently being reviewed and suppliers will be updated accordingly.”

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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