The UK Governmental Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has signed a £20.8 million (~$25m) deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Under the deal, AWS is providing Defra with cloud hosting, its ‘bring-your-own-license’ software management service, and will see the cloud giant offering support, managed and professional services, and training to Defra employees.

AWS logo
– Sebastian Moss

The contract covers a period of three years, starting on 1 January 2023 when it seems that Defra first signed. The department has committed to spending at least $4.7m per year but expects the actual amount to total ~$25m. This represents a six-times increase on the 2021 deal Defra signed with AWS, which would have been due to expire at the end of 2023.

This latest deal falls under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both AWS and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), dubbed the One Government Value Agreement.

This MoU was signed in 2020 and saw public sector clients that entered into a three-year contract with AWS offered a baseline discount of 18 percent, with an additional two percent offered to those who paid upfront.

Since the MoU, several departments have made deals with AWS including the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, among many others, all of which total in the hundreds of millions.

In March 2022, AWS announced that it would be investing £1.8bn ($2.37bn) in building and operating data centers in the UK.

Defra, the department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries, and rural communities, was said to have the second-largest legacy IT expenditure from 2021-2022 by the National Audit Office.

Published in December 2022, the department reportedly spent £726 million ($894 million) on its legacy IT and has some 2,000 applications, 30 percent of which are unsupported by a vendor.

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