The Driving Standards Agency (DSA), the Department for Education (DfE) and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) have gone out to tender for £400 million worth of computer-based testing services.

An online contract notice outlines that the government bodies are looking for a variety of computer testing systems, which will be used by millions of people every year.

The DSA's theory test, the certificate of professional competence for professional drivers and the safe road user award will all be incorporated into the new testing services, which will be delivered via 164 test centres across the UK.

The average number of tests carried out annually for the DSA is approximately 1.7 million.

Seperately, the DfE requires the computer-based services for its literacy, numeracy and skills tests, which may also include a human marking element. These may also need to be made accessible to applicants within the EU, where the annual number of tests taken could reach 400,000.

Finally, the UKBA may also require the capability to deliver computer-based tests across a nationwide network of facilities for assessing an applicants' knowledge of life in the UK for naturalisation and settlement purposes.

However, the contract notice says: "The details of the testing regime are currently under official review and ministers may approve changes before any resultant contract would come into force, but it is expected that nationwide test centre coverage will continue to be required with about 190,0000 tests being taken annually, each 45 minutes long and currently consisting of 24 questions."

It is also stated in the notice that the framework is being made available to the wider public sector, which may include other central government departments, NHS bodies and local authorities.

The term of the contract is four years and those interested in participating in the tender process have until 19 November to contact the DSA.

In other public sector news, the Government Procurement Service has outlined its plans for a unified approach to service integration and management services this week.