The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has signed a £60 million IT services contract with Steria, replacing existing supplier Serco. Under the eight year deal, Steria will manage DSTL’s infrastructure and support “complex and bespoke technical applications” from 1 April next year.

DSTL, which is part of the Ministry of Defence and designs battlefield technology, runs a number of bespoke software programs to support scientific data. It has sites in Salisbury, Portsmouth and Sevenoaks.

Steria will maintain DSTL’s infrastructure and provide IT helpdesk services, as well as attempting to improve system usage. It will also provide technical support specialist DSTL projects.

 Jill Cook, director of infrastructure at DSTL, said the laboratory was looking for “flexibility”, security and cost savings with the deal.  There is an option for DSTL to extend the contract by up to two years.

Steria is one of the latest suppliers to sign a cost-cutting agreement with the government. For the company "this is a welcome piece of new business in the challenging UK public sector IT market," said Tola Sargeant, research director at analyst house TechMarketView. The MoD saw its budget cut by eight percent in last month's Strategic Defence Review, as the government shifted the defence focus to modern threats including cyber warfare.

Sargeant said: "Steria is a longstanding supplier to the MoD and the police sectors in the UK, as well as central government departments where security requirements are high, such as the Home Office, so there should be a natural fit with DSTL."