The Office of Government Commerce’s procurement agency, OGCbuying.solutions, has signed up a consortium led by Capgemini to design and operate a new electronic travel booking service for use across UK government departments. The contract covers the design and implementation of the service, as well as its operation for five years.

Among the first users of the service will be the Ministry of Defence (MoD), with other government departments set to follow.

For the MoD, the new online booking service should provide 300,000 staff around the world – covering both civil servants and armed forces – with a speedy and secure method of booking travel cost-effectively. The service will carry information from low-cost carriers, plus special offers and corporate deals negotiated by their departments.

The service is being hailed by those involved as a “a true cross departmental shared service” which marks a step forward for the government’s shared services agenda.

The value of the contract has not been announced.