Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is seeking suppliers for £3 billion worth of technology deals to be tendered starting 2010 through to 2015.

The department will open up all contracts to competition to replace its existing principle IT service contracts once they expire. DWP will replace desktop and datacentre management contracts currently held by EDS, due to expire in 2015.

Five IT contracts will be tendered over the next seven years. The contracts, worth £3 billion in total over a seven year period, will include datacentre and hosting services, desktops, voice and data networks, application maintenance and support and integration services. The first of these, a contract to provide desktop PC services, will be put out to competition this week.

The department plans to sign up a small number of companies under a consortium to a framework contract of standard terms and conditions, a DWP spokesperson confirmed. In deciding how to structure the new contracts, the department will continue to monitor market developments and assess the capability of suppliers through competitions.

DWP CIO Joe Harley said in a statement: "We are reviewing our future plans for our major IT service contracts as our principal existing contracts expire during 2010-11. We are committed to ensuring that future IT services continue to be provided in a way which delivers the best service to the citizen and maximum value for the taxpayer."

Harley continued that the DWP will be managing a series of competitions to replace existing contracts progressively by 2015. "These will be conducted in accordance with public procurement regulations. The first of these is the contract to provide desktop services across the Department," he said.

An existing contract with EDS for datacentre management, which is one element of these IT services contracts, has already been extended.

Costs for the design and deployment of future applications over the next seven years has been estimated by the media to be worth an additional £1.5 billion, but a DWP spokesperson said it will depend on the programmes that the department embarks upon over that period.

In April, the department announced plans to increase its IT expenditure on a number of IT projects, including £208 million over the next three years on IT at the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, to replace an in famously maligned Child Support Agency system.

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