See also: UCLH to save £1.2m with managed print services

The UK Cabinet Office has put out a tender for a managed print services and devices contract worth between £704 million and £904 million over four years.

The Cabinet Office is looking for contractors to supply multifunction devices, managed print services and print audit services, under the Government Procurement Services's print framework agreement. The agreement is designed to fulfil the print requirements of public sector organisations by bringing together a large number of suppliers offering a range of products and services, from business cards and posters to full print management services.

The current print services framework agreement will expire on 31st March 2012, and the Government Procurement Service will be going to market in January 2012 for a new print and print management framework agreement. This will be for the exclusive use of wider public sector organisations – including central government departments, NHS bodies and educational establishments – and it is expected to be available from late April 2012.

The tender states that the new framework agreements are targeted at two segments of the market – small customers who have quite simple requirements (ie. print, copy, scan and fax), and larger customers who have more complex requirements (ie. independent advice and networked/managed print solutions).

The framework agreement is divided into the following four lots:

 - Lot 1 involves the supply and delivery of a limited offering of individual devices with a standard configuration available from a single supplier – worth £150m to £190m.
 - Lot 2 involves the supply and delivery of a wider offering of devices and solutions across the supplier's range that would be available from a number of suppliers – worth £440m to £570m.
 - Lot 3 involves the provision of the full range of managed print services up to and including fully outsourced solutions that would be available from a number of suppliers – worth £110m to £140m
 - Lot 4 involves the provision of independent print audits that would be available from a number of suppliers (maximum of 15) – worth £4m.

Tenders may be submitted for one or more lots. Current suppliers include Belmont Press, Cedar Press, Delta Group and The Blue Printing Co. A full list of suppliers can be found here.

Ealier this month, British Airways announced it was partnering with Xerox to cut "up to a quarter" of the cost of its mail and digital print operations as part of a wider document management plan to improve process efficiency. BA, which already uses Xerox for other services, has signed a five-year enterprise print services contract with Xerox.

Meanwhile, a study by the computer industry trade association CompTIA earlier this year revealed that, despite moves to create a 'paperless office', most companies expect to maintain or increase paper usage over the next two years.

While some businesses have moved away from the use of paper, sectors like education, government and health care remain extremely paper-intensive, according to Tim Herbert, vice president of research at CompTia.