Masons beats rivals to win Defra IT work

Masons has fought off competition from six other firms to win a massive IT outsourcing contract from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)

The project, which will see Defra outsource its current IT infrastructure services and applications development, has an estimated value of more than £350m.
Masons partner David Isaac led the team, including partners Edward Goodwyn and Simon Colvin, that won the work against opposition from six other national and City firms. The in-house team, led by the head of the commercial and establishment team Sue Spence, will advise on public procurement issues, contract drafting and employment.
Although Masons has won this piece of work, the department will continue to instruct other firms. Defra has farmed out recent large instructions to Eversheds.
Spence said: “The Defra legal department has developed good working relationships with a number of firms of solicitors and we look forward to doing the same with Masons. We undertook a full procurement exercise and Masons was the firm we chose.”
Eversheds continues to advise Defra on litigation arising from the Foot-and-Mouth crisis. Since then it has advised the department on the construction and development of a 12,500 square metre site for serviced accommodation in Cambridge.
Isaac said: “We look forward to establishing a partnership approach with the successful bidder, whilst ensuring that central government is properly protected against the many pitfalls that can occur in large IT outsourcing arrangements.”
It is thought that the contract will be awarded in 2004.