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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Procurement Projects

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 13 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity on 1 February (Official Report, Commons, 456W), what the project Enabling IT, which was awarded in financial year 2004-05 in respect of £850 million, involves; how much was spent in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07; and how much of the project remains to be completed. [HL4194]

The project Enabling IT, or E-nabling Defra, refers to the IT outsourcing contract awarded by Defra to International Business Machines Ltd. The figure of £850 million is arrived at by multiplying the original estimated yearly costs of £85 million (including discretionary spend on IT projects) by the life of the contract, which although initially is seven years includes an option to extend to 10 years.

Under the contract, which came into effect in October 2004, IBM provides strategic IT and business transformation services aimed at improving service provision to staff and the public. IBM also works closely with Defra to deliver an IT-enabled strategy for change while improving the department's internal processes.

IBM is managing, supporting and improving Defra’s desktop IT infrastructure and business systems, developing a range of new business systems, providing the infrastructure to help facilitate a more flexible and mobile workforce and provide a continuous source of technology and business process innovation.

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity (Barry Gardiner), in his reply to the honourable Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), on 6 June 2007, (Official Report, col. 543W), confirmed that expenditure with IBM under the terms of this contract was as follows:


£28.26 million


£111.12 million


£147.56 million

The outturn costs have been higher than the initial estimated yearly costs, due to the increased demand for IBM services by projects in delivering Defra's strategic objectives.