Simmons & Simmons has bagged its fourth major Government IT outsourcing project of the year from right under the noses of three other leading firms.
Simmons has been awarded the contract by the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), the part of the Department of Health which regulates and approves pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. The three other firms on the Department of Health's panel are DLA, Eversheds and Bird & Bird. Simmons will be advising on the agency's IT refurbishment and the implementation of an information management strategy. The value of the programme is expected to be in the region of £200m. The work was scooped by Simmons IT partner David Barrett, who joined from US firm Arnold & Porter last August. Earlier this year, he won work on three other major Government technology contracts, including advising the Department of Health on the replacement and upgrade of its internal IT systems and infrastructure. His team is also advising the Home Office on the commercial procurement of the IT infrastructure and systems for the new National Probation Service, as well as advising the Cabinet Office on the Gateway Project. Concerning the MCA contract, Barrett said: "I assume that one or more of the other panel firms were invited to pitch for this. There was quite an extensive interview process and we said we'd be delighted to do this work." He said that the contract will probably occupy the firm until May next year and will require the full-time work of at least one lawyer. "This will be a very significant piece of work," he said. "I anticipate having one lawyer working full time and it will obviously take up a substantial amount of my time. With three large Government projects on board, this new contract proves our growing strength in this field."