Pinsents improves public sector standing with Govt IT instruction

The outsourcing team at Pinsent Masons has raised its public sector profile by advising the Cabinet Office on a framework contract for sharing IT services.

The firm was picked through a competitive tender process against firms on the Government’s legacy L-Cat panel. Other firms on the panel include CMS Cameron McKenna and Field Fisher Waterhouse.

Partner David Isaac and senior associate Michael Horn led the Pinsents team, which included employment lawyer Pam Sidhu and pensions specialist Matthew Ambler.

Isaac said: “We had to tender for it and it came through the Treasury Solicitor’s Department. We got approached in the normal way under the old L-Cat panel.”

The Cabinet Office selected Fujitsu Services, which used its in-house team on the deal, to provide the technology. Fujitsu’s head lawyer for the public sector group Andrew Hooles led the legal team.

The contract, which is called ‘Flex’, will act as a framework for IT outsourcing across all government departments. So far the Cabinet Office has committed itself as the first customer; it will spend £32m over five years for IT services.

Currently public bodies have their own contracts and processes for outsourcing, but Fujitsu hopes that its Flex arrangement will be taken up by a number of different government organisations.

Isaac said: “The government body purchases services for itself, but any department can opt in. We set up the arrangement for the Cabinet Office and it’s a shared template for procurement.”

The Office for National Statistics has already embarked on talks to become the second public body to use the framework.

The work provides Pinsents with an opportunity to market its public sector outsourcing group, as a variety of other government bodies could use the firm’s documentation if the project is successful.