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New NAO Report on Software Licensing

1 May 2003

The National Audit Office reports today that government departments have been slower than expected in taking up centrally-negotiated software licensing agreements with IT suppliers.

Government-wide Memoranda of Understanding were signed in March 2002 offering the public sector newly-negotiated prices for desktop software products offered by Microsoft, IBM/Lotus and Sun MicroSystems, following discussions with the Office of Government Commerce and Society of IT Management.

According to today's report, so far 31 departments have taken up the Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft and five departments with other suppliers - fewer than anticipated.  Both the OGC and Microsoft consider that many departments are waiting until their existing agreements expire.

Suppliers other than Microsoft consider that take up by departments to date has been disappointing and has had little impact on the level of business they receive from public sector organisations. The NAO found that departments were not all aware of the agreements with the suppliers and call on the OGC to publicise them more widely.

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