Historically, public sector organisations, including the FSA, have implemented single source models for their ICT managed services to transfer risk and work in partnership with a reputable supplier.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is a non-ministerial government department responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Rapidly evolving business demands have proven this model to be inflexible and costly in meeting changing business objectives. A single-sourced solution can also restrict an organisation’s ability to take advantage of new technologies. Furthermore, the actual level of risk transferred through single-sourced contracts is questionable.
With the Government’s strategy now to disaggregate from single-source models into multi-supplier solutions, the FSA commissioned Rainmaker to support them in designing and mobilising a strategy to bring control of its ICT management back in-house and move to a multi-source model to facilitate the adoption of a more flexible, innovative and better value supply chain.
Working collaboratively with the FSA’s key stakeholders, the project team conducted multiple interviews across the organisation to understand how and why users interacted with technology, how data was being used to inform decision making, and the effectiveness of the existing ICT estate.
We found that the existing single-source arrangement for the provision of ICT services was ‘of its time’ and that the existing contract had not been let optimally. We found that it was static rather than dynamic and had led to the existence of technical debt. Current user needs were not fully met and there was little scope to consider future needs. Furthermore, the current cost profile was no longer competitive and real opportunities for savings to be made through disaggregation were available.
We delivered an IT strategy and undertook a Mobilisation Phase which delivered user personas, a current application portfolio and a delivery roadmap.
The Discovery and Mobilisation phase delivered on time and to budget. With our support, FSA has been able to produce and mobilise its 18-month ‘Evolve’ IT programme which will transition the services provided by the existing single-sourced supplier to new suppliers (including the transformation of some services), and in parallel iteratively build the FSA service functions and effect a phased, smooth handover.
This engagement helped demonstrate how Rainmaker can support the creation of an ICT vision, evaluate an existing technology environment, and help mobilise a plan for transitioning from existing services. The plan will maximise business opportunities and savings offered by the modern ICT market, and will minimise both transition risk and transition cost.
As a result of our initial engagement, we were asked to continue supporting FSA with the Discovery and Design Phase, building on the outputs of mobilisation. The structures, processes and operating platforms needed to operate an ICT function that manages multiple vendors, will be iteratively developed in parallel with the service transition and transformation.
Deborah Pollard is EEG Product Owner at Ofsted