Home Office prepares for next stage in IT overhaul

Department ready to adopt Windows 10 and new range of smartphones under TPT programme

The Home Office is preparing to begin the overhaul of a big chunk of its IT estate under the Technology Platforms for Tomorrow (TPT) programme.

Home Office HQIt is planning to switch to the Windows 10 operating system and wholesale use of Office 365 and collaboration software for 29,000 staff, and to replace its mobile phones with more up-to-date smartphones across several business areas, including borders, immigration, crime, police and fire, and its capabilities and resources function.

The department has been looking for a business engagement and change partner to support the work – providing support for its staff in understanding and beginning to use the technology – beginning in the early summer.

It has indicated on the Digital Marketplace that the roll out is expected to take 12 months, but that the whole package of work could extend to two years with a value of up £2.5 million for the partner.

The move to Windows 10 and Office 365 reflects an element of the Home Office technology strategy, published in 2013, along with the broader Government policy to use commodity IT applications whenever it makes sense.

Completed elements

Large elements of the TPT have already been completed, including the design and configuration of new technology products, an analysis of the communications channels and plans for new working methods. The change partner is expected to work with the department’s project and delivery teams and its suppliers to speed up the use of the new tools.

The move comes at a potentially tricky time for the Home Office with the impending departure of its chief digital, data and technology officer Sarah Wilkinson. It was announced earlier this week that she is to move to NHS Digital as its new chief executive.

There has been a more controversial element of the TPT, in which the department has reportedly been centralising a number of databases using the Hadoop open source software framework. While this reflected another element of the technology strategy – enabling the department to manage and analyse all its data as a corporate asset – it attracted criticism last year from LibDem party leader Tim Farron who argued it would make it possible to build up a profile of every person in the country.

Image: Home Office building, Marsham Street, by Kevin Gordon, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia